Friday, June 3, 2016

BadSports: If Baylor won't self-regulate, the NCAA and Big XII should regulate for them.

You should not be shocked that Baylor is now refusing to release recruits from their Letter of Intent pledges in the wake of Art Briles' firing, and the scandals that have rocked the athletic department.

Baylor Recruits Still Waiting to be Released from their Letters of Intent. Bruce Feldman,

He is not optimistic that Baylor will relent and "do the right thing." Last week he tried to get Baylor to release his son. Then on Tuesday, Grobe called and said if the Cobbs still aren't satisfied after they meet the new coach in person (Wednesday night), he'd sign the release. 
However, after meeting with Grobe, Collis Cobb informed him and defensive coordinator Phil Bennett that his son's mind is made up that he no longer wants to go to Baylor, since there is too much uncertainty about the program. 
"Bennett told us that we'd have to follow through with the appeal process," Collis Cobb said. "What I took from that is they're not going to release anybody."

This should not surprise anyone.  At no point, up to an including now, has Baylor demonstrated that they've learned any lesson, that they're willing to clean up their house and that they are ready to act in a fair, honorable fashion.

This is an athletic program that has lost not only their way, but the guiding faith that supposedly makes it against the rules for non-married students to kiss on campus (Rape, or sexual assault by Football players notwithstanding).

While I have little sympathy for, as Baylor alums are harping, the "players there who did not sexually assault co-eds (they contributed to the 'see something, do-nothing' culture that thrived under Briles) my concern does extend from the victims (who I hope all receive fat financial settlements from Baylor at least) and to the players who signed letters not realizing that they were agreeing to play for a combination of Sodom and Gomorrah, and to whom all of this came as a shock. (To be fair, however, I do doubt that few of them are wanting to leave due to concern over sexual assaults, and more out of fear that the team is going to suck, and suck royally, over the course of their careers.)

That aside it appears through all of this that Baylor has still not learned their lesson. Lest we forget, this is the second time a Baylor program has faced allegations of covering up, and ignoring, serious criminal offenses. So while it's easy to write this off as "Something that festered under the current administration" it's starting to get pretty clear that there's something rotten on the East bank of the Brazos River and it's festering.

In the above article Collis Cobb states that he hopes Baylor will "do the right thing" and release his son from his LOI. To me this seems like a false hope because there's little evidence that Baylor has had any proclivity toward 'the right thing' athletically for a while now.  Because of this, it's time for both the NCAA and Big XII to step in and begin to make things right.

First, the Big XII.  It's an open secret that the only reason Baylor was included in the initial Big XII was due to the political pressure of then-Texas-Governor (and Baylor Alum) Ann Richards. In fact, Baylor always seemed like the "odd man in" considering that Texas Christian University (a school of similar size, make-up, but with a far better TV market (Ft. Worth vs. Waco) was left out, as was the University of Houston. With Ann Richards (sadly) gone it makes no sense for the powers of the Big XII to act as if Baylor serves any further function within the conference. They should begin preparations to eject them immediately.

Pushing out Baylor and adding back in BYU, Cincinnati and either UCF or UH makes way more sense than allowing Baylor to stay. They've proven that they are incapable of handling big-time college sports and should be immediately shown the door.

Second the NCAA, who gave Southern Methodist University the so-called "death penalty" for paying athletes, should consider the same for Baylor Football. I realize that the common-perception is that the NCAA will "never" issue the death penalty again, but I can think of no better reason for doing so than for an institution that now has a police blotter that included teammate murder, drug dealing, and several convictions and indictments for sexual assault.

While paying players is against the rules, the violations for which Baylor is charged (and, in some cases, has been convicted of) are against the law.  Baylor is not being accused of illegal cash payments, they're being accused of covering up allegations of rape and sexual assault, of failing to suspend players and conducting sham investigations designed to allow players to play, and wins to keep coming.  If they are found guilty of these things they should lose the ability to contest athletic events for a couple of years.

I realize that these prescriptions may seem harsh (and unfair to Baylor alums and fans) but apparently harsh is the medicine that Baylor needs.  In their charter, they are a Baptist University that promotes Christian morals and missions. They've clearly lost their way, falling victim to idolatry as they worship at the feet of the Idol that is McLane Stadium.

The Isrealites, having constructed a gold cow to worship while Moses was in the hills, were forced to burn their cow, pour the ashes in a nearby river and drink from it, which made them all sick, in repentance for the act. In the same vein Baylor needs to see their athletic department burned to the ground, and the ashes poured into the Brazos, while Baylor leadership and students become sick from the loss.

The good news is, on the heels of that the Jewish nation built the Tabernacle, which was used to house the Ark of the Covenant, which was installed in the Promised Land after they spent time in the wilderness as punishment.

Baylor needs to have their athletic program torn down, burned and the ground salted from which it sprang.  After they spend some time in the wilderness they can begin to rebuild.  Hopefully whatever they wind up with is built on stronger, more guiding principles than what they have now.

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