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Former Baylor AD: School 'scapegoated' black football players

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If your school is rocked by sexual assault scandals and gains a reputation as a place where women can’t feel safe while trying to get an education, what would you do?

If you answered “blame the football players because everybody assumes they’re all a bunch of rapists anyway,” there may be a job waiting for you at Baylor University.

Or so former Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw is alleging, according to a report from ESPN.

McCaw made those claims in a deposition as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the school that accuses it of multiple violations of Title IX.

Specifically, his claim is that leaders, consultants, attorneys, and the school’s PR firm all conspired to place the blame on athletics in general and football in particular as cover for a lack of institutional control and failure to properly respond to rape reports on campus, a culture of shifting blame and creating a hostile environment that stretches back decades.

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In the motion, McCaw said there is “an elaborate plan that essentially scapegoated the black football players and the football program for being responsible for what was a decades-long, university-wide sexual assault scandal and go directly to the pattern of conduct that created a heightened risk to plaintiffs and other Baylor female students.”

Baylor, incidentally, ranks in the top third of American universities in ethnic diversity, with blacks the third-largest racial group behind whites and Hispanics. Baylor’s football program, meanwhile, is overwhelmingly black, consistent with revenue sports in general nationwide.

Across all diversity factors, Baylor ranks in the 90th percentile among US schools.

Baylor was first rocked by scandal in 2016, when the school released a report by Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton that took both the football program and the school itself to task for rampant cases of sexual assault and domestic violence that were mishandled on an institutional level.

Do you believe McCaw's accusation that Baylor scapegoated football in its scandal?

That report cost university president Ken Starr (the same Ken Starr best known for his role in investigating President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998) and football coach Art Briles their jobs.

McCaw, meanwhile, lost his job as athletic director but stayed on in an administrative role at Baylor until November of 2016, when he left to become the AD at Liberty University.

As the motion points out, “Although urged to remain, McCaw refused to continue on as Baylor Athletic Director because he ‘was disgusted at that point with the regents, the racism, the phony finding of fact’ and because he ‘did not want to be part of some Enron cover-up scheme.'”

As the scandal intensifies, McCaw’s rat-off-a-sinking-ship adherence to his moral conscience may well let him stand clear of the blast radius.

McCaw also claimed that the cover-up and decision to throw the football program under the bus was because accepting blame on an institutional level would be “bad for business. … It’s bad for Baylor’s brand, bad for admission, bad for tuition revenue.”

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The university fired back against McCaw’s accusations in a statement.

“The plaintiffs’ counsel have grossly mischaracterized facts to promote a misleading narrative in an effort to deflect attention away from the actual facts of the case pending before the court,” the statement said. “We will maintain our diligent efforts to keep discovery focused on this specific case while steadfastly protecting the privacy of our students and their records that are uninvolved in this matter.

“Much of the testimony of Mr. McCaw that is selectively quoted in the motion is based on speculation, hearsay and even media reports.”

McCaw, meanwhile, had a bombshell left to lob at his former employer.

Although he does not name the source of the quote, McCaw accuses one Baylor regent of “racially charged labels like ‘300-pound black football player’ being freely thrown around to the exclusion of other instances of university-wide misconduct,”

If McCaw can prove that accusation, Baylor will be fighting a two-front war; they’re already under fire from women enraged at the failure to take them seriously after they were raped on campus.

If those racially-charged words enter into it, they’ll get tarred with the brush of institutional racism as well.

There is one key piece of evidence to contradict McCaw’s claim: Title IX coordinator Patty Crawford told him that “she had had upwards of approximately 300 cases since she’d arrived at Baylor, and she had not detected any pattern relative to student athletes within that number.”

Crawford did, however, say that 10 percent of her work involved assaults by football players and that furthermore, those assaults tended to be of a far more violent and depraved nature.

That 10 percent figure is significant because athletes make up only 4 percent of Baylor’s enrollment.

The entire community in Waco has been rocked by this scandal, and as the story continues to develop, the effects on the football program could be devastating.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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