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Bad News Keeps Coming for Baylor

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Copyright 2017 Paddock Publications, Inc.

Chicago Daily Herald
February 4, 2017 Saturday
SPORTS_; Pg. 3
584 words
Wave after wave of allegations rock Baylor
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas - The allegations against Baylor, its football program and former coach Art Briles, get uglier with each new lawsuit and legal filing.

Among the most recent: More than 50 acts of rape by dozens of football players in four years. Briles asking why an alleged rape victim would hang out with "bad dudes" (his own players). And coaches encouraging female students in a hostess group to have sex with recruits.

And they keep rolling in, deepening the public disgust and mistrust with the nation's largest Baptist university as it tries to fight lawsuits, settle others and fend off withering criticism from all sides as to how things spun so out of control with a sexual assault scandal that included multiple accusations against the football program.

Baylor faces at least six federal and state lawsuits as well as a federal civil rights investigation into claims the school and football program, which Briles built into a Big 12 champion, ignored, mishandled or tried to cover up reports of sexual or physical abuse and other criminal misdeeds across campus for years.

And after months of refusing to release details from its own investigation, Baylor on Thursday revealed text messages between Briles, assistant coaches and staff members that appear to show them trying to shield players from police and university discipline.

To date, only two of Briles' former players have been tried and convicted of sexual assault, and another is currently charged in a 2016 assault.

But the university's own investigation that led to Briles' firing last May determined his program acted as if it was "above the rules" and that the school had mishandled assault complaints across campus for years.

The civil lawsuits started piling up as alleged victims came forward with claims of assault and investigative misconduct or incompetence by the school. And it wasn't just victims suing the school. Two of Baylor's former in-house investigators have sued or filed complaints with federal officials alleging Baylor mishandled assault investigations and retaliated against them for doing their jobs. Even Briles sued, alleging Baylor regents and officials had libeled and defamed him. Briles this week dropped that case, but it was a similar lawsuit by Collin Shillinglaw, one of Briles' top assistants, that finally prompted Baylor regents to reveal some of the details uncovered by the school's 2016 investigation that was led by the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton.

In a 52-page narrative response to Shillinglaw's lawsuit, the regents said Pepper Hamilton determined Briles ignored sexual assaults by players, failed to alert university officials or discipline athletes and allowed them to continue playing.

School regents had released few details behind the investigation that led to the firing of Briles, the ouster of former President Ken Starr and the eventual resignation of athletic director Ian McCaw.

The lack of details drew fierce criticism from students, alumni and donors, including Bears for Leadership Reform, a group that includes several prominent Baylor donors and Briles supporters.

The regents' court filing Thursday said they had no choice but to reveal some of the details of what they found.

But Bears for Leadership Reform demanded more details Friday.

"We are shocked and appalled by the information in this court filing," said group leader John Eddie Williams.

"Full transparency, not an ongoing dribble of select information, is what the Baylor family wants and deserves," Williams said.

February 6, 2017

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