NCAA hands Baylor probation, fine in sex assault scandal
The NCAA infractions committee made available its findings from a years-long investigation into the Baylor football program on Wednesday, handing the Bears four years of probation, a fine and multiple other sanctions but declaring the school ultimately did not violate NCAA rules.
The ruling comes more than five years after the sexual assault scandal broke in 2016, leading to the firing of football coach Art Briles and the eventual departures of athletic director Ian McCaw and school president Ken Starr.
According to the report, “The allegations at the heart of this case centered on conduct never before presented to the COI (Committee on Infractions) — namely, that Baylor shielded football student-athletes from the institution’s disciplinary process and failed to report allegations of abhorrent misconduct by football student-athletes, including instances of sexual and interpersonal violence.
“Baylor admitted to moral and ethical failings in its handling of sexual violence on campus but argued that those failings, however egregious, did not constitute violations of NCAA legislation. Ultimately, and with tremendous reluctance, this panel agrees.”
However, the NCAA did find other violations that occurred between 2011 and 2016, including impermissible benefits for one football player as well as Baylor’s operation of “a predominantly female student-host program that did not align with NCAA recruiting rules,” according to the NCAA’s release on the report. Additionally, former assistant director of football operations Colin Shillinglaw failed to meet his obligation to cooperate, thus violating ethical conduct rules when he did not participate in the investigation.
The specific penalties include four years of probation, a $5,000 fine and several recruiting restrictions. Restrictions include a reduction in official and unofficial visits, a ban on football recruiting communication during a two-week period of the 2021-22 academic year and a reduction of evaluation days during fall 2021 and spring 2022. Also, a five-year show-cause penalty has been given to Shillinglaw, while Baylor must vacate any records that occurred where an ineligible player participated.
Following Briles’ departure, Baylor found success under former head coach Matt Rhule, who spent three seasons with the Bears and led them to an 11-3 season in 2019. After Rhule left Waco to take over as head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Baylor brought in former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who led the Bears to a 2-7 season in 2020.
–Field Level Media