One of the most infuriating things about higher education is how, when the people at the top are exposed, there are no criminal charges, and they get huge bonuses, even when they resign their positions. Time and again we hand millions over to these “leaders” in higher education, and this situation is so common that it barely makes the news anymore…but I feel the need to highlight it all the same.
–yep, that Ken Starr. It’s weird how political lawyers end up as Poo Bahs.
Baylor is a decent enough sized university, with some 17,000 students and a billion dollar endowment. I doubt most readers have even heard of it, beyond their football program. Football is something of a blight on higher education for many reasons, not least of which is it’s often responsible for academic and sex scandals. Football also sucks up huge amounts of that student loan money despite football having little impact on anyone’s education, but today it’s about the sex scandals.
The coach (Art Briles) and Starr didn’t really participate in the scandal directly, which involved sexual assaults by football players. The scandal mostly involved a serial rapist on the football team, with enough victims to generate a 20 year prison sentence, as well as a few other players engaging in rape. Horrible, of course, but let’s talk about the scandal leading to the resignations of the Poo Bah and end of the coach of the university.
I’ll say it again later, but I want to emphasize: they lost their jobs under a huge cloud. This netted them nearly 20 million dollars in golden parachute money. Ken Starr actually resigned, quit the position, and still received $4.5 million for his role in the scandal. By all means, if any of my gentle readers know of any other jobs where you can quit and receive millions of dollars for doing so, please use the contact form to let me know how I can apply for it so I can change careers immediately. You needn’t worry I’ll hold the position long, of course.
So how were these “leaders” involved in the scandal? Well, quirks in our laws allow universities considerable leeway in how to investigate allegations of criminal behavior, at least if they happen on campus. So, when the coach and Poo Bah were presented with the knowledge of a football player raping kids on their campus, they did what any responsible leader in higher education, the best we can find to judge by their pay, would do: they covered it up and protected the football player. There’s no reason to let a raped female negatively impact the team’s record, after all.
In a report released by Sue Ambrose and David Tarrant of the Dallas Morning News, some within the Baylor community criticize Starr for being silent about rape and sexual offenses on school grounds and for how the school puts football above crime victims.
The allegations of cover-up go on for years, and I’ve only included a snippet above…interested readers can see a timeline here, but there’s enough of a pattern over a long enough period of time that it’s hard to believe the coach and Poo Bah didn’t know what was going on and thus had no reason to take steps to protect their other students at least a little from the kind of people they had on their football team.
Well, one more snippet from this extensive timeline:
…who sent messages attacking Tracy. The same day, Randy Cross, a College Football Hall of Fame inductee, voices his disgust for the scandal. He said, “I thought (the NCAA) should have stepped in (and punished Baylor for the sexual-assault scandal). I thought Art Briles should have gotten a show-cause. This whole idea that he can be back in coaching, I think, is an embarrassment. It’s not only that; it’s a travesty to those 17 women that have accused these kids of doing what they did.”
Hey, I get that some people really love their college football, and that this is the justification our leaders use for covering up crime by the football players…but honest, higher education isn’t supposed to be about protecting rapists and thugs. Our leaders think differently, of course.
All the leaders in higher education care about is getting the money, the huge sums of money from the student loan scam being a primary source. Only accredited schools can get that money, and so perhaps the accreditor can step in here and say “look, protecting rapists and thugs on your campus should be discouraged, and so we’ll do something about that.” Any luck with that?
The reader might find this shocking, but there are no prescribed penalties for violating any aspect of accreditation. My blog has highlighted this time and again, of course, but bottom line this is why our leaders honestly don’t care about protecting rapists and thugs on their campus. Accreditation doesn’t care, they just want the checks, too.
Briles apologizes for his part in the school’s scandal, saying “I made mistakes. I did wrong, but I’m not doing this trying to make myself feel better for apologizing. I understand I made some mistakes. There was some bad things that went on under my watch. I was the captain of this ship. The captain of the ship goes down with it.” 
—-to clarify, he means “the captain of the ship goes down with a huge golden parachute,” at the risk of mixing metaphors for the sake of honesty.
Now, to be fair, the coach’s $15 million payout wasn’t due to a resignation, it was to cover the rest of his contract. One might hope that there’s a “for cause” clause in that contract, however. We really, really, need to ask why “the best” people in higher education aren’t smart enough to put prudent clauses in their contracts so they can fire people for protecting thugs and rapists, without awarding millions of dollars like this.
“…part of widespread leadership changes at Baylor following the scandal. Board of Regents chair Richard Willis said in the May 2016 announcement the school was “horrified” by findings from an independent review handled by the Law Firm of Pepper Hamilton…”
–the review has, so far, not been released to the public. Of course.
We need to understand there’s a whole infrastructure, a completely corrupted infrastructure, which is allowing these sorts of scandals to be everyday events on campus, to take place over a decade or more before any of it comes to light. This isn’t just about the head coach and the Poo Bah, any more than it’s about “a few bad apples” on the football team.
Make all the leadership changes you want, as long as they’re paid millions for covering up horrible crimes, it won’t make any difference as to what the leaders will do when confronted with horrible crimes.
Grobe…states that Baylor’s issues are common to every school.
–Grobe is another football coach at Baylor.
Moreover, we need to understand that as long as the people at the top are not penalized, are actually rewarded with millions of dollars for covering up the scandal, and would get absolutely nothing for ripping out the corrupted infrastructure, these scandals will happen, and as the coach hints at above, are almost certainly in progress at many other schools.
In the meantime, perhaps we could stop the student loan money going to at least the football schools? I mean, if football really is so important that rape is acceptable behavior, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind giving up all that money…