This week we learned of yet another Title IX lawsuit filed against Baylor University, the seventh such suit. The case alleges a 2012 gang rape perpetrated by members of the university’s football team against a university volleyball player. Equally disturbing, one case alleges a 21-second video recording of the gang rape was later circulated among football players.

This paper has recently published a large number of guest columns and editorials taking sides with the self-styled “Bears for Leadership Reform” in their ongoing feud with Baylor University regents. On May 7, Royce Starnes expressed shock that “not a single member of the board of regents has been held accountable for what happened on their watch.”

Last week was just another week in the national spotlight for Baylor University. A high-profile ESPN commentator urged parents to not send their daughters to Baylor and said corruption in its athletics department “screams [NCAA] death penalty without question.” A prominent blogger called for the Texas Rangers to storm the university. Oh, and the Big 12 Conference put Baylor on notice by withholding millions of dollars in revenue.

In June of last year, I happily booked an appearance at Baylor’s Chapel. Religious presentations (and op-ed writing) are not a central part of my work; I’m a law professor, after all. But I looked forward to the opportunity to come back to Waco, a place I dearly love that is full of old friends. The date was set in consultation with the Chapel staff: Feb. 13, 2017 — this Tuesday.

Debate now rages over whether the Big 12 Conference board of directors’ decision to withhold a fourth of embattled Baylor University’s revenue share is a politically correct public relations ploy or serious shot across the bow that Baylor clean up its act. We suggest looking at this unanimous vote for what it is: further inducement by conference brethren ensuring Baylor has unforgiving protocols in place so its athletics department doesn’t hide or ignore claims of misconduct and crime leveled against its athletes.

True or not, the 39-page legal response of three key Baylor University regents to fired BU assistant athletics director Colin Shillinglaw’s defamation suit offers a blistering indictment of the Baylor football program under then-head football coach Art Briles and then-athletics director Ian McCaw. It comes complete with instances of when and how they and Shillinglaw allegedly conspired to keep secret those complaints of sexual assault, drug use and more whenever players were involved.

As Baylor University sits on the precipice of truly devastating consequences, its board of regents remains firm in not granting further clarity in the ongoing scandal that has gripped America and plagues the school and community around them. Amazingly, for all the talk by others of “going down with the ship,” regents seem almost determined to take Baylor with them into the abyss.

If anything strongly bolsters the Bears for Leadership Reform case for an independent investigation of Baylor University regents’ handling of the sexual-assault scandal that has sadly come to define the Christian campus for some, it’s Liberty University’s Nov. 28 hiring of former Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw. National media immediately pounced, questioning the prudence of the nation’s largest evangelical university, given that pending litigation questioning McCaw’s department oversight remains to be resolved.

Shame on you, Baylor Nation. You should be ashamed of yourselves for only half-filling McLane Stadium on Senior Day versus Kansas State. Spare me your excuses about 11 a.m. games. It was painfully evident from the empty seats of many season ticket-holders that you only see fit to park your butts in your seats when Baylor is winning.

In the next couple weeks, Ian McCaw’s lawyers are scheduled to respond to a lawsuit by a woman named Jasmin Hernandez. In the suit, Hernandez alleges McCaw, as the athletic director at Baylor University, knew a football player named Tevin Elliott had been accused several times of committing sexual assault. She alleges McCaw failed to protect Hernandez before Elliot raped her and showed willful indifference afterward.

In an era when egotism and narcissism will more than ever define our nation’s leadership and profile, one can appreciate all the more former Wake Forest University coach Jim Grobe’s thankless gesture of temporarily coaching Baylor University’s football team at a time when some fans stubbornly demanded head football coach Art Briles’ return and regent leadership engaged in escalating battles with alumni, donors and even BU’s assistant coaches.

Despite the sentiments of all the women in my family, Matthew McConaughey just doesn’t get it. This week, when McConaughey was asked what he thought about UT’s Charlie Strong as a coach, McConaughey said Strong “had one goal in mind: What’s best for these young men. That’s been his goal . . . he’s been about what’s best for these young men, and who they are in the rest of their life.”

Neither Bears for Leadership Reform nor anyone else concerned should be outfoxed by initial reform ideas crafted for Baylor University’s embattled Board of Regents. While we’re glad some regents are earnestly discussing useful ways to improve board transparency and accountability in the wake of a sexual-assault scandal that has tarnished administrators, coaches, players and especially regents, no one should assume mere publishing of board minutes and agendas will halt protest, including some very angry and vocal donors.

Thursday’s rousing, decidedly muscular rally of pivotal Baylor University alumni and donors not only demanded overdue accountability and transparency from the Christian institution’s beleaguered Board of Regents but made clear that future donations from such prominent donors as business magnate Drayton McLane and Houston attorney John Eddie Williams are in peril. But is anyone at Baylor listening?

The sharp spike in reported allegations of rape at Baylor University between 2014 and 2015 might seem to work against efforts to draw more students and reassure them of their safety, but the latest Clery Act numbers should reassure all in one regard: Experts in sexual violence say the institutions of higher learning that should especially concern us are those that report few or no allegations of sexual violence.

One can debate till sunup how Baylor University lost control of its campaign to decisively implement campus reforms to prevent and address sexual assaults. After the university’s much-touted Title IX coordinator quit under pressure this month, filed a damning complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and blasted Baylor on national TV, a federal investigation just naturally figured in the cards.

The surprise news that Baylor University Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford was resigning this week because of what she termed resistance by certain administrators to her efforts to bolster Title IX policy on campus sparked debate among our readers via Facebook. Excerpts of the most telling comments:

Months if not years could pass before the public learns better how Baylor University — already swept up in a runaway scandal involving student rapes and administrative indifference — got crossways with its own full-time Title IX coordinator to the point of irreconcilable differences. The clash led to not only her shocking resignation this week but also her decision to promptly fly to New York and publicly castigate Baylor’s “senior leadership” for resisting her efforts to improve implementation of Title IX policy on campus.

Plenty of Baylor Bears fans were understandably outraged by Rice University’s marching-band halftime show lampooning Baylor University’s ongoing scandal over Title IX issues. After all, some Baylor rape victims reportedly faced administrative indifference; Baylor’s president and head football coach were dispatched amid protests for and against them; and questions loom over BU regents’ oversight.

As if colleges and universities didn’t already have enough headaches between the sexual-assault allegations involving their students and stupefying complexities of Title IX gender-violence protocol, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has made everything even more bewildering. Its July 29 ruling highlights the tribulations now experienced by schools such as Baylor University.

Baylor University Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford, who was hired by the school in 2014, sat down this week with Tribune-Herald staff writer Phillip Ericksen. Below is a full transcript of that interview.

Allegations that some Baylor University officials used student-conduct prohibitions against drinking and premarital sex to intimidate and discourage victims of sexual assault from pursing their complaints are enough to raise one’s blood pressure in outrage. And even though these are as yet unproven, such claims should prompt Baylor leadership to further explore whether stern, unforgiving student-conduct codes have positive relevance today — even on a resolutely Christian campus where parents expect their children to walk the straight and narrow as students.

In a Q&A interview last week with the Tribune-Herald, I shared my thoughts, in as forthright a manner as possible, regarding a number of subjects. My goal, during my short tenure as president, has been to be as candid as possible with members of the Baylor University community about information gathered in the Pepper Hamilton review of sexual assaults involving students and our work to implement Pepper Hamilton’s 105 recommendations for improvement.

The void left by Wilton Lanning’s death at age 81 isn’t hard to understand. Civic leader, successful businessman, founding president of the Dr Pepper Museum and W.W. Clements Free Enterprise Institute and regular Trib contributing columnist, Wilton was a genial presence about Waco, mixing with all walks of life, furthering worthy causes big and small and spreading optimism wherever he went. His departure is especially sorrowful because we need his encouragement now more than ever.

First, I thank Congressman Bill Flores for his Dec. 30 column detailing and defending how the recently passed tax-reform law “helps you.” His expertise as a CPA and a businessman is not in question. I appreciate the column’s intent, which was to provide real information to constituents in a public forum that allows us to read and to respond. That has not been the case in the telephone town halls or in his office policy to delete most critical comments to posts on his Facebook page about the tax plan. In the Waco Trib, then, we can have a dialogue.


What were we talking about one year ago? Take a look back.

As Baylor University sits on the precipice of truly devastating consequences, its board of regents remains firm in not granting further clarity in the ongoing scandal that has gripped America and plagues the school and community around them. Amazingly, for all the talk by others of “going down with the ship,” regents seem almost determined to take Baylor with them into the abyss.