The NCAA should punish Baylor University’s football program by suspending the team for multiple seasons.
Baylor’s football team has been under a prolonged investigation over Title IX violations, where numerous members of the team were cited as aggressors in sexual assault.
The coaching staff and administration have also come under fire; there are allegations they knew about these abuses, and chose to look the other way in order to not have their best players face discipline or suspension for their actions.
A Dallas Morning News report stated that members within the Baylor administration were upset with how these incidents were handled by University President Ken Starr, who they claimed had more interest in the football team’s success than the victims of the crimes committed by the team.
Starr has since resigned as president.
According to a lawsuit filed in January by a former student at the university, there were 52 rapes committed by 31 different members of the Baylor football team between 2011 and 2014.
After the release of an independent report of the incidents at the university, head coach Art Briles was fired for failing to discipline players when they knew about the crimes.
Briles denied implications that he helped cover up these crimes in order to keep his best football players on the field.
In Nov. 2016, Baylor University officials admitted that one of the accusers spoke to Briles about a gang-rape that involved members of the football team, and that Briles spoke with Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw, yet chose not to do anything about it, according to the Associated Press.
Briles, Starr and McCaw have all been fired or resigned.
The main question that needs to be asked is: where are the penalties for this corrupt program? Many teams have been penalized for far less serious and dangerous offenses.
The “death penalty” is most severe punishment the NCAA can levy on a program for negligent actions. If given the death penalty, the NCAA would force the university to give up all football related actions for a period of time.
Coaches would not be able to recruit, there would be no games and players in the program would be allowed to transfer out of the school with no penalty, essentially killing all signs of life for a football team.
The death penalty has only been given out once in NCAA history. Southern Methodist University received it in 1986, and had their entire 1987 season cancelled for recruiting violations.
The NCAA may fear giving out too strong of a penalty after they received backlash for their handling of the Penn State scandal, which included a 4 year postseason ban and a $60 million fine for covering up former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse.
Baylor University, however, is fully deserving of having their football team taken away from them.