Baylor University’s regents have permanently and severely damaged the reputations and dignity of every alumnus of Baylor; each and every coach on the Baylor football team, especially former Coach Art Briles; former President Ken Starr; former Athletic Director Ian McCaw; and every coach, professor, teacher and employee of Baylor University.
Regents have done this in three distinct ways:
By not properly implementing and overseeing compliance of Title IX federal requirements since their inception years ago.
This is a significant failing of the Baylor University Board of Regents, particularly during the last three years — and not the athletic department or the football coaching staff. The recommendations of the law firm that regents hired make this clear. Why have regents taken no disciplinary actions regarding themselves? Is it because narcissism has crept into their personalities?
If the heads of departments are to be held responsible — in other words, Starr, McCaw or Briles — why stop with them? Baylor regents are the heads of them all. Whatever failings exist on a case-by-case basis among administrators and staffers are significantly overshadowed by regents’ institutional failure to comply with Title IX. They should shoulder some responsibility.
By engaging the Pepper Hamilton law firm to conduct investigations and reporting rather than conducting such investigations through trained, unbiased, experienced personnel.
The legal complaints of individuals regarding sexual assault, if valid, are criminal conduct deserving the attention of professionals who are objective and experienced in such matters. How do Pepper Hamilton’s “investigative skills” eclipse those of local, state and federal law enforcement investigators, including U.S. Department of Education investigators? Why pay significant fees to Pepper Hamilton when the Department of Education is legally designated to investigate Title IX enforcement? Moreover, certain private law firms come with built-in biases, including those involving profit motives.
And why were regents so interested in “witch-hunt” efforts to pin blame on Baylor employees working under them? What money and effort did regents expend to achieve meaningful reparations to the victims? Was fixing blame on employees more important than helping rectify the damage done?
By succumbing to the national media’s conjured hysteria and sensationalism, evidenced by regents’ needlessly punitive action against Starr, McCaw and Briles.
The so-called “findings of fact” which regents published are anything but. They are subjective conclusions that regents have contrived and published under their letterhead. Even if their published “facts” were indeed factual, they are the regents’ conclusions and not Pepper Hamilton’s. Where are there any findings of fact made by the law firm that regents hired? What “facts” did they find? Where are they actually reported?
Moreover, with regard to the Pepper Hamilton “recommendations,” where is the support for the overreactions taken against Starr, Briles and McCaw? Yes, our baby needed a bath, but regents should not have thrown the proverbial baby out with the dirty water. What do the demotion, reassignment, termination, reprimand and probation measures that regents have taken against Baylor employees have to do with assisting victims? Indeed, the Pepper Hamilton recommendations nowhere mention or justify such action against specific employees of Baylor. These actions are obviously part of regents’ grandstanding to appease public sentiment in light of media-created hysteria. Regents have engaged in narcissistic, excessive, misdirected blame-placing. Why do the blame and punishment stop short of the top dogs?
I am ashamed and disgusted at Baylor regents’ conduct. Baylor University as an institution and alumni such as me deserve better leadership. Baylor regents threw Baylor University under the bus.
Carroll “Goober” Overton, class of Baylor ’58, was also a quarterback for the Baylor Bears. He lives in Austin.