Folks tailgating at The Grove this fall on the campus of the University of Mississippi will no doubt talk about potential NCAA sanctions. At some point, the talk might turn to another university that’s just over 630 miles from Oxford, Miss.: Baylor University in Texas.
Rebels fans might be scratching their heads wondering why they are looking down the barrel of the NCAA’s gun, but Baylor University isn’t. The answer is simple: There are no rules in the massive NCAA rulebook on what is going on at Baylor. Last year, a sexual-assault scandal in the football program came to light, and since then, the allegations have continued to mount.
Each new lawsuit against the university is painting an ugly picture about what was going on at Baylor. Still, the Bears will get to compete for the Big 12 title and head to a bowl game, but not the Rebels.
He points out that the organization jumped the gun against Pennsylvania State University in 2012.
The NCAA punished Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case. For the most part, many of the sanctions have quietly been reduced or repealed.
Personally, I was against the punishment for Penn State, not because of I’m a fan of the university but because the NCAA overstepped its boundaries. We can all agree that the NCAA should relax some rules and do away with others, but it can’t just make up rules on the fly.
Public outcry drowned out common sense. For the NCAA, the PSU case became, “We have to do something,” and not a question of whether organization had the ability to do something. The NCAA has learned its lesson so far in the Baylor case, but public outcry grows by the day.
It is amazing that an organization that has rules for when a coach can call or text a recruit doesn’t have rules when something horrific like what happened at Penn State and what is happening at Baylor. Maybe that should change.
Even before the Penn State scandal, the NCAA had a chance to change the rules and bring the hammer down on programs that were covering up crimes. In 2003 also at Baylor, basketball player Carlton Dotson murdered fellow teammate Patrick Dennehy.
Then-Head Coach Dave Bliss lied about Dennehy, saying he had become a drug dealer to pay his tuition. In reality, Bliss was paying for Dennehy’s tuition in order to get around NCAA rules.
Long story short, Baylor got in trouble, not for trying to cover up a murder, but because a coach playing fast and loose with rules in the NCAA books. Bliss got a 10-year show-cause penalty, which has ended his chances of coaching at another NCAA school.
It was a chance for the organization to look at changing the rules for major cover-ups. At that point, the administration at Baylor looked into the basketball program as the scandal came to light.
That is not the case this time. The current scandal has taken down former President Ken Starr and Head Coach Art Briles.
But Liberty University has hired Athletic Director Ian McCaw, whom Baylor fired; Head Coach Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic University just hired Briles’ son and former offensive coordinator, Kendal Briles; and Arizona State University has hired former defensive coordinator Phil Bennett.
In an article on Yahoo Sports, writer Pat Forde breaks down the former Baylor employees that other programs have hired.
One would think that any coach at Baylor during the scandal would be radioactive to other colleges. But in college football, winning sometimes takes priority over scandals and human decency.
If Art Briles knew about some of the cases of sexual assault, it isn’t out the realm of possibility that his top assistants knew as well. Other coaches who might have taken part in covering up sexual assaults should be punished.
As Staples points out in his story, the NCAA should change it rules. It should slap coaches that cover up crimes with show-cause penalties. If that is what it takes to make coaches report sexual assault, the NCAA should have changed it rules yesterday.
The University of Mississippi shouldn’t get punished while Baylor gets away scot-free. Plus the NCAA must make sure another Baylor or Penn State case doesn’t happen again.