This story was first published by our friends at Dixieland Sports.
By Brooks Carter
Hopefully the saga that is currently unfolding in Waco, Texas will help turn over a new leaf, and begin a new era in the college sporting world.
Baylor Bears’ Head Football Coach Art Briles and University President Ken Starr were dismissed yesterday (read the story here) after sexual assault allegations involving current and former Baylor football players that dated back to 2009.
This was a groundbreaking decision on behalf of Baylor University, firing arguably one of the top 10 best coaches in all of college football… But why did it take this long for a major college institution to “do the right thing”?
There have been so many other instances prior to the Baylor one that have occurred at other programs, where nothing more than a “slap on the wrist” has been issued as punishment.
Instances where winning was more important than morals, or maintaining a proper conduct code.
For example, at Louisville; where three former players have confirmed that escort sex services were provided from 2010-14. Head Coach Rick Pitino has still, somehow, retained his job, and the program has had zero formal punishment outside of the University issuing a self-imposed postseason ban.
Or at the University of Missouri, where administrators and coaches were made aware of allegations made by a female student athlete who believed she was raped by one or more players from the Tigers’ football team, but the University never investigated the alleged rape or made the police aware of the allegations. The alleged incident happened in 2010, and the female student athlete committed suicide 16 months later.
In fact, according to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” only 1 more institution in the United States has had more alleged sexual assaults involving student athletes reported than the University of Missouri, many of which included football players. Gary Pinkel remained the head football coach through all of this, until he retired (on his own terms) at the conclusion of this past football season.
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This kind of culture has essentially been allowed to happen without any repercussions for the coaches or student athletes, and it’s a result of numerous major institution’s administrators and coaches repeatedly sweeping instances of sexual assault, rape, and other illegal activity under the rug, all in the name of protecting that specific institution’s and coach’s reputation.
Art Briles and Baylor University’s President Ken Starr lost their jobs because they cared more about winning than doing what was right, and that “win at all costs” mentality has resulted in a toxic environment to be teaching and molding young male and female student athletes in. By turning a blind eye to off-the-field behavior, it has endorsed the idea to student athletes that nothing else matters as long as you win.
Baylor University’s decision will hopefully be the start of a new age in college athletics. An age where institution’s actually hold their administrators and coaches accountable for allowing this type of behavior to be present in their programs, and are fired for doing so. An age where it means more to bring in a recruit that’s a quality person over just being a talented player. And an age where morals matter more than winning games.
Read more about sports in the American South at Dixieland Sports.
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Cover Photo Credit: Victor Araiza/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)