A former Baylor University football player has sued the school, claiming administrators mishandled a Title IX case against him, unfairly leaving him without living quarters, dining options and a scholarship.
Jeremy Faulk, 25, filed the lawsuit against Baylor in Waco’s 414th State District Court on Wednesday. His lawyer, Richard Tate, said Faulk’s situation is “the most egregious example of just fundamental denial of due process and fairness” he has ever seen.
Faulk’s lack of Division 1 college football experience and his connection to a Baylor Title IX investigation have hindered his professional career, and he has been waived by two NFL teams during preseason camps, according to the suit.
Faulk has previously made the allegations publicly but stopped short of suing. The case was brought back into the public eye in January 2017, when Lyn Wheeler Kinyon, a former Baylor financial aid staffer, claimed in a lawsuit that she was fired for reinstating Faulk’s scholarship in July 2016. Her lawsuit was settled last year.
After attending Florida Atlantic University then playing football at a community college in Kansas, Faulk signed a football scholarship with Baylor in December 2015 and started classes the following month. Baylor regents fired Ken Starr as president and Art Briles as head football coach on May 26, 2016, citing “fundamental failure” of Title IX implementation and a football program operating “above the rules” after a nine-month investigation. A flurry of lawsuits and investigations ensued.
Faulk arrived at Baylor May 30 for summer classes, when he was told he no longer had an apartment and slept on a teammate’s sofa, according to the lawsuit.
After the first day of workouts May 31, Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Chad Jackson told him he may be the subject of a sexual misconduct investigation stemming from an April encounter with a woman on a university holiday, according to the suit.
He told Jackson he had consensual sex with a woman that day, and Jackson said the woman claimed she was forced into a sexual act by one of Faulk’s roommates. Faulk then signed two releases allowing Baylor to access records from the schools he previously attended, according to the suit. On June 3, then-interim head football coach Jim Grobe dismissed Faulk from the team.
Grobe allegedly told Faulk the matter was “out of his hands” and later publicly expressed regret over how the situation was handled. Grobe also told Faulk that the Title IX investigation would end if Faulk left Baylor, according to the suit. Jackson sent Faulk papers allowing him to transfer to any non-Big 12 school.
The lawsuit states Faulk had been kicked off the team, stripped of his scholarship and effectively expelled without knowing of any Title IX allegations against him.
A local television report included a recording of then-Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford telling Baylor coaches Reagan Ramsower, a Baylor vice president at the time, forced her to give administrators Faulk’s name and directed Grobe to dismiss him.
Baylor has disputed Faulk’s claims and pushed back on them again Thursday.
“The plaintiff was dismissed from the football team for failing to disclose a prior sexual harassment complaint against him at a previous institution,” according to a statement from Baylor. “There also had been another sexual assault claim made against the plaintiff in May 2016 while he was at Baylor. Given these circumstances, appropriate action was taken — the player was removed from the team, his scholarship rescinded, and he was advised of his rights to appeal the rescission of his scholarship.”
Baylor referenced a 2013 report from Faulk’s time at Florida Atlantic in which Faulk and a friend allegedly opened a door to a teammate’s room, where the teammate and a girlfriend, who were both naked, were lying in bed. Faulk and his friend allegedly threatened to pull off the sheets. Police were called, but no charges were filed.
The Title IX office informed Faulk a report of “possible conduct” involving a “possible violation” of Title IX had named him, and he was told June 3 that his scholarship had been revoked, according to the suit. Faulk had returned home to Florida, which Baylor mistakenly believed was a notice of withdrawal, the lawsuit states.
On July 7, a panel reviewing an appeal from Faulk restored his scholarship but barred him from the football team, according to the suit. Faulk claims he was not given proper notice to prepare for the appeal panel.
“The plaintiff could have returned to Baylor on a full scholarship, but he never did so,” according to Baylor’s statement Thursday. “If he had returned to Baylor, the university’s Title IX investigation would have been resumed and completed according to policy and procedure.”
The lawsuit alleges Faulk was given “the Title IX death penalty” before stating his case, and his privacy rights were violated by Crawford’s identification of him.