Over the last couple of years Baylor University has been exposed for enabling, promoting and even covering up an institutional culture of rape, sexual assault and violence. More and more allegations have emerged since the first ones began to go public, and the school continues to defend itself in the face of some horrifying truths.
The list of allegations and crimes committed by student athletes and employees over the course of the last few years is so extensive that I can’t even share it all here, but you can find detailed timelines of accusations, assaults, firings and sanctions in an interactive timeline on the Waco Tribune-Herald‘s website, as well as on Wikipedia’s ‘Baylor University sexual assault scandal’ page.
The scandal, which was slow to be acknowledged or acted upon by anyone at the university, eventually led to the firing of, among others, the head football coach Art Briles. It also led to the demotion and resignation of Baylor University President Ken Starr, the resignation of Athletic Director Ian McCaw, and the firing of Title IX Coordinator, Patty Crawford.
Just to give you an idea, here’s what has happened in connection with the scandal just in 2017 so far:
- Documentation revealed both Briles and former assistant athletic director Collin Shillinglaw covered up several Baylor football players’ participation in underage drinking, indecent exposure, and sexual assault.
- Big 12 Conference votes unanimously to revoke 25% of Baylor’s conference revenue in 2017
- Baylor DB Travon Blanchard is suspended from the team after being named in a protective order due to ongoing verbal and physical abuse of his girlfriend, extending as far back as July of 2016.
- Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey made the following statement: “If somebody’s around you and they ever say, ‘I will never send my daughter to Baylor,’ you knock them right in the face.”
- An Austin federal judge rejects the Baylor’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by 10 women in which they claim they were sexually assaulted at the school.
- Baylor’s associate director for football operations, DeMarkco Butler, was fired for sending inappropriate texts to a teenager, which came on the heels of fellow staffer Brandon Washington being fired after being arrested during a prostitution sting at a Waco hotel.
So keep that in mind when you see the Nike-sponsored shirts that the Baylor basketball teams wore during the March Madness tournament last weekend:
So, everyone thought "Baylor Mentality" shirts were a good idea? pic.twitter.com/vk6mflQbtV
— Kristen Balboni (@KristenBalboni) March 20, 2017
There are many people who believe the exposed systemic assault culture at Baylor should earn the school’s athletic programs the NCAA “death penalty” for their repeated violations and their clear lack of institutional control. So while the shirts may be a logo that was decided upon for every school sponsored by Nike in the tournament, it was more than ill-advised – a fact not lost on social media, which earned the shirts some swift backlash.
With all the horrors that have taken place at Baylor, maybe shirts saying "Baylor Mentality" aren't really appropriate.
— Jon Hopper (@Hoppalicious) March 20, 2017
I get that every @Nike school is wearing these Mentality shirts, but some times you need exceptions. Baylor case and point!!!
— Grant Silverstein (@gasilverstein) March 20, 2017
What exactly is the Baylor Mentality? Seems like yet another awful choice by that athletics department….
— Sean Boyd (@swmrdude15) March 20, 2017
I don't think that wearing a shirt that says "Baylor Mentality" is in great taste #MarchMadness
— Scott Kiker (@scottkiker) March 20, 2017
I feel like "Baylor Mentality" is probably something you wouldn't want to put on a shirt.
— Ryan Miller (@ryan_mill) March 20, 2017
Someone coming towards you wearing "BAYLOR MENTALITY" t-shirt? You're legally allowed to mace them. #marchmadness
— Nate Herron (@nateupdate) March 16, 2017
— Chester Reboulet (@chiliboots) March 17, 2017
The mentality that Baylor has represented for years now is at the core of the dysfunction of the NCAA as a whole. Baylor represents the worst of what college athletics can become, and their real “mentality” is one of greed and corruption. While thee basketball players themselves may be innocent of any wrongdoing, the optics are jarring and unsettling.