It’s a sad day for Baylor Nation. The decision to fire our head football coach is the most ridiculous, ungrateful and disloyal one possible of Baylor University. At what point do we hold these young athletes accountable and stop allowing them to destroy coaches’ lives and the lives of their families?
Art Briles has done nothing to deserve this treatment. It’s time we the fans stand up for the coaches and the presidents of all universities and colleges and say to all athletes: Enough is enough. If ESPN has any kind of credibility, it will investigate all NCAA winning and losing programs to show that these sorts of allegations go on everywhere — and that every head coach and college president should be terminated if the dubious logic of Baylor regents is allowed to stand. Art Briles is not the problem. Ken Starr is not the problem. The athletes and their moral values and ethical decisions are the problems.
As you can tell, this upsets me as a fan but more as a human being. Rape and sexual assault obviously have no place in our society. However, universities can do only so much to prevent female students from frolicking at nightclubs and then retreating to athletes’ apartments after both have been drinking. At some point all parties must take responsibility for their actions.
All state and federal laws can be in force, all the right campus rules can be in place, yet people involved in some horrible acts must ultimately be held accountable. Yes, Baylor owes every parent the security of knowing his or her child is receiving an education in a safe environment. I have twin girls of my own and would expect that as well. But as a parent, I must also teach my children to make good decisions and to think before they act.
Our justice system is in place for a reason. We must rely on our police to protect and serve. Police reporting has been in place for decades.
I am saddened today for all involved — mostly the victims of these horrible acts of rape and sexual assault. But at the end of the day, do we really think Baylor University is a safer place for students because regents fired the head football coach? Will this act heal the trauma of the victims or solve a nationwide problem?
Baylor University, this problem did not begin with the hiring of Art Briles and it won’t end with his firing or that of much-respected President Starr. If things are that bad and regents are so caught up in their Christian mission, let Baylor do without its athletic programs and fraternity houses.
Allen Johnson, China Spring
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Having taught and worked in higher education at large public, private and urban institutions, I understand the tensions when it’s time to acknowledge institutional wrongdoing, including my own failures in response to error and/or ignorance. I know it’s politically complex and delicate for leadership to say “I’m sorry” when a university’s mission is to promulgate care, student success, prestige and, in the case of Baylor University, Christian distinction. But when evidence surfaces that a university has complicitly supported the antithesis of its mission — in this case, an ethos of campus insecurity and misogyny — it’s time to take full ownership.
Now this is not the kind of apology muddied by status-quo qualifiers or reassurances. Not the kind that responds to emails from victims or concerned alumni with silence. Not the kind that de facto declares, “We take these things seriously. We’ve established a Title IX office” (albeit long after it became a federal mandate). And not the kind that says, “We’re bound by legal matters and privacy laws, so no comment.”
Perhaps to be “distinctly” Christian is to consider a social gospel apology, one that continuously acknowledges the oppressed and the existence of a deep-rooted, systemic problem and responds with campus reform and inclusion policies that go far beyond the federal and legal requirements. Maybe Thursday’s apology by Baylor University regents; making the Pepper Hamilton report public; and the dismissal of high-profile leaders is the beginning of a shift at Baylor — an acknowledgement that involves the kind of institutional ownership, transparency and humility that ground any long journey toward reconciliation.
Joel H. Scott, Waco
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Well, all the haters got their wish: Baylor University head football coach Art Briles has been fired. Everyone can pontificate how this is a just thing. Yet greater harm has been done to Baylor than most people realize. This is far worse than the Dave Bliss mess — and look how long it took Baylor basketball to truly return.
Yes, indeed, better decisions could have been made at Baylor regarding these sexual assaults, football players and student victims, but where were the Baylor University regents during all of this? How in touch with the realities of the world are any of these people?
A better solution would have been to admit problems at the very first hint that things were not going well and proclaim there and then that changes needed to be made. Certainly, a better system of evaluating prospects should have been implemented. The old system of phoning a friend for a recommendation regarding a prospective player does not work. Better methods must exist. Avoiding players with potential character issues should be just as important as athletic ability.
Congratulations, Baylor. You have really screwed up this time. You have created a bigger problem than you can ever imagine.
Tom Vorderkunz, Woodway
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Baylor University is supposed to be a Christian institution of higher learning. Yet, somewhere along the way, it has lost its focus. All administrators who were involved in discouraging female students in their rape complaints should be fired. There is absolutely no way to excuse such behavior by any administrator.
Another thing that should be done is to close the co-ed dorms. If I were to send any of my daughters to a college, I would make sure there were no co-ed dorms.
Baylor can restore its status as a Christian institution if it demonstrates resolve and commits to meaningful reforms. If not, then it should withdraw from the Southern Baptist Convention if it hasn’t already done so.
Edward Lindsay, Fort Worth
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I have worn my Baylor ring every day since graduating in 1954. Today, when I went for my evening walk here in Austin, I also put on my Baylor baseball cap.
Never prouder to be a Bear.
Raymond McLeod Jr., Austin
Zach Burns: Sad day for Baylor. I just don’t understand why Art Briles is taking the majority of the heat. It just doesn’t make sense. By no means do I ever condone violence, sexual assault or other questionable crimes committed by faculty or students alike, but when did colleges start hiring football coaches and expect them to also be psychologists or therapists? I can see that Briles should have gone a step further and reprimanded his players and taken the allegations to proper authorities. But is he really responsible for more than that — especially losing his job over student actions?
Jim Stewart: Time to seriously look at the actions of the Waco police and their leadership. The United States cannot afford too many more cities such as Ferguson or campuses like Penn State, and this is a bit of both.
Stephen Curtis: Wake up, Jerry Jones. I will stop giving the Dallas Cowboys hell if you hire Art Briles and keep yourself in the family box and let this man do his job. We could most likely stop a season like 2015 and 2016 with Briles replacing Jason Garrett.
Claudell Copeland: When did the Board of Regents first hear? They should be held accountable first, certainly before Ken Starr.
Andrew Lopez: Nothing was mentioned about how this affects Waco’s image. The city offers them [Baylor University] $34 million to help them shine [through McLane Stadium improvements]. And their players turn around and give us a black eye. I feel Waco should take back the money that hasn’t been given to this point.
Paul Gaines: Better late than never. Baylor will feel the consequences of this for years but at least it has had its “come-to-Jesus” moment and put student safety above football.