I’m a sports fan. But I don’t talk about it much. I may have an opinion on what a coach does, but quite frankly, I usually don’t have enough of a foundation in sports to feel confident talking about it.
I understand this doesn’t stop most people.
So yesterday on the Gary Parrish show I heard his opening monologue about the horrific report detailing the attempts of some Baylor University Football officials to quash complaints of sexual assault against Baylor players.
As a person, I’m disgusted. As the father of a child who will one day go to college, I’m terrified.
I’m terrified because the willful neglect demonstrated by members of the Baylor Football staff, to women with complaints of sexual assault, makes me fearful that, one day, God forbid, if something should happen to my daughter, will there be some Bike Coach short wearing douchebag trying to talk her out of reporting it.
I’m angry because these people, regardless of their official duties, are supposed to help create and maintain an environment of education…not just cover their asses.
I’m sad for the women who were further victimized in this attempt to protect a few men who may have done something awful (we’ll never know if they’re guilty or innocent, though by the actions of the Baylor Football staff, they certainly don’t look innocent).
And it makes me wonder: How can a mom or dad send their kid off to school without knowing how that school deals with sexual assault or domestic violence?
How can parents be sure that a school will hold their child’s best interest over the best interest of the multi-million dollar enterprise that college sports has become?
Will parents start considering a school’s record on dealing with these kinds of issues when they’re discussing with their child what school they are interested in attending?
Because, while I’m not one of those that thinks there’s a boogey man around every corner trying to get you, I know that sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes in the US. And that my child has a 1 in 5 chance of being sexually assaulted while she is in college.
And as a parent, that’s terrifying. Its more terrifying that employees of a major University in this country would ignore these realities (because statistics aren’t theoretical) for their own personal gain.
There were a lot of failings here, but the following paragraphs in the summary report really caught my eye.
Baylor failed to take appropriate action to respond to reports of sexual assault and dating violence reportedly committed by football players. The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the University. In certain instances, including reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, athletics and football personnel affirmatively chose not to report sexual violence and dating violence to an appropriate administrator outside of athletics. In those instances, football coaches or staff met directly with a complainant and/or a parent of a complainant and did not report the misconduct. As a result, no action was taken to support complainants, fairly and impartially evaluate the conduct under Title IX, address identified cultural concerns within the football program, or protect campus safety once aware of a potential pattern of sexual violence by multiple football players.
In addition, some football coaches and staff took improper steps in response to disclosures of sexual assault or dating violence that precluded the University from fulfilling its legal obligations. Football staff conducted their own untrained internal inquiries, outside of policy, which improperly discredited complainants and denied them the right to a fair, impartial and informed investigation, interim measures or processes promised under University policy. In some cases, internal steps gave the illusion of responsiveness to complainants but failed to provide a meaningful institutional response under Title IX. Further, because reports were not shared outside of athletics, the University missed critical opportunities to impose appropriate disciplinary action that would have removed offenders from campus and possibly precluded future acts of sexual violence against Baylor students. In some instances, the football program dismissed players for unspecified team violations and assisted them in transferring to other schools. As a result, some football coaches and staff abdicated responsibilities under Title IX and Clery; to student welfare; to the health and safety of complainants; and to Baylor’s institutional values.
In addition to the failures related to sexual assault and dating violence, individuals within the football program actively sought to maintain internal control over discipline for other forms of misconduct. Athletics personnel failed to recognize the conflict of interest in roles and risk to campus safety by insulating athletes from student conduct processes. Football coaches and staff took affirmative steps to maintain internal control over discipline of players and to actively divert cases from the student conduct or criminal processes. In some cases, football coaches and staff had inappropriate involvement in disciplinary and criminal matters or engaged in improper conduct that reinforced an overall perception that football was above the rules, and that there was no culture of accountability for misconduct. Source