On Tuesday, a letter was issued to the Baylor University school board by the Bears for Leadership Reform, a group composed of thousands of Baylor supporters, voicing concern over the effectiveness of university leadership as allegations continue to surface among athletics department students and staff. The letter was signed by 14 former Baylor regents, 3 of whom have served as chairman of the board.
The letter, referenced by KWTX, brings into question the 13-page document entitled “Findings of Fact” submitted by law firm Pepper Hamilton, in which they shared the results of their investigation into the numerous allegations of sexual assault implicating members of the Baylor football team between 2011 and 2015.
The Bears for Leadership Reform group says that the document, which resulted in the firing of former head coach Art Briles, reassignment of university president Ken Starr and suspension of athletic director Ian McCaw, raises concern over the conduct and practices used by the current regents.
The letter reads, “If the office of regent has been compromised through the lack of exercising proper fiduciary responsibility, lack of appropriate due diligence, or conflicts of interest by regents, the regents responsible for these actions should resign their duties and allow their position to be filled by another person.”
The letter also points to the warning issued to Baylor University from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as evidence that the board in its current state is ineffective, and advocates the need for a greater degree of transparency and accountability in order to ensure a safe campus environment and help for victims of assault.
This letter comes just days after the dismissal of Baylor’s strength and conditioning coach Brandon Washington, who only recently joined the athletics staff under new head coach Matt Rhule. McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara told the Waco Tribune that Washington was arrested early Saturday morning at a local hotel under charges of prostitution solicitation.
The Baylor athletics department released a short statement late on Monday, which reads, “After a full criminal background check was completed and cleared, Brandon Washington was recently hired as an assistant in the Football Strength and Conditioning area. Baylor was notified on February 4 of Brandon Washington’s arrest and terminated his employment immediately that day.”
In addition to calls for action on the part of the school board, there is speculation that the NCAA infractions committee may be moved to instate its so-called "death penalty" — the suspension of a football program from competitive sport for a minimum of one year.
Alabama Media Group's Roy S. Johnson told ESPN, "It's up to the NCAA, at least in this case, to send a very clear message that abuse will not be tolerated, nor will institutional cover-ups be tolerated, and that Baylor's going to have to pay a price for that."
Related from AB: Baylor Produces Text Evidence; Briles Drops Libel Suit