Football Success Superseding Female Safety: Actions That Need to Be Taken To End the corrosive culture in Baylor Football

With the college football season fast approaching, the highly  ranked Baylor Bear football team, known for their high flying passing attack,  has hopes of claiming their first National Championship in school history. But currently Baylor, the worlds  largest Baptist university   has far more pressing issues than succeeding on the gridiron. The university is facing a Title IX lawsuit from a woman who was assaulted by Baylor football star Tevin Elliot. The suit asserts that the university was aware Elliott had a history of assaults, failed to protect her and other women, and ignored her when she sought help after her assault. Further investigation into the Baylor football program has revealed that coaches were aware of other incidents involving domestic violence, assault, and sexual assault and athletes did not face any negative repercussions in any manner. Since 2009, three Baylor football players have been convicted or charged with sexual violence charges involving women, and several more have been accused of sexual misconduct, that the university did not properly investigate, or investigate at all.The following are a  just a few examples  of these incidents.

  • Former Bear Defensive End Tevin Elliot was sentenced to two decades in prison in after being found guilty of raping a Baylor female athlete. At the time of his conviction there were at least 4 sexual assault allegations against Elliot that Head Coach Art Briles and the University were cognizant of that were not properly investigated by the University. Elliot was not kicked off the team until his indictment in 2012, more than 3 years after his first assault. Elliott’s victims were not offered support, counseling and other accommodations which  are  required under Federal Title IX guidelines, when victims requested such assistance .
  • Sam Ukwuachu was charged with raping a Baylor female soccer player in October of 2013. Sexual assault charges were filed against him in the summer of 2014. However, Ukwuachu, an accused rapist awaiting trial  was allowed to participate in team activities, continue his academic studies, and was not disciplined in any capacity by the university. Prior to his  conviction in August of 2015 , Baylor  did not even acknowledge that an  investigation into the serious  allegations had occurred.
  • In April of 2013,a sexual assault claim was made against All-Big 12 tight end Tre’von Armstead and reserve linebacker  Myke Chatman. Sexual assault allegations, by law are required to be investigated by universities in a timely manner.Baylor University officials did not open an investigation into the matter  until September of 2015.
  • In 2014, a female Baylor student alleged she was physically assaulted by Bears running back Devin Chafin on multiple occasions in which he pulled her hair, grabbed her by the throat and kicked her. Head coach Art Briles,president Kenneth Starr and the team chaplain were made aware of the allegations levied against Chafin. Chafin faced no punishment and played in 9 contests  during the 2014 campaign .

These allegations concerning  Baylor’s  brazen indifference towards the protection of their female students , is put simply, disturbing. It is of vital importance that  serious action must be taken to end this Baylor 1despicable culture that is currently permeating Baylor University  . I am of the opinion that the only way that can be achieved  is to relieve president University President Kenneth Starr and  Head Coach Art Briles of their duties. Secondly, I propose that there be a further, comprehensive  investigation into the entire  Baylor Bears  athletic  program.

Before the corrosive culture of Baylor University football  can be altered, those in power, namely Head Coach Art Briles and university President Kenneth Starr must be removed immediately. Since 2007 when Art Briles became head coach of the Baylor football team, the team has reversed its fortunes on the gridiron tenfold, and made millions of dollars in revenue as a result .  The Bears have  been the victor in more than 60 percent of their games and risen steadily from the doldrums of college football mediocrity and emerged as a national powerhouse after Briles arrived in Waco. The question that should be posed is at what cost has this occurred? Apparently, from the perspective of Art Briles and President Kenneth Starr, the expense has been slight; the bill is merely doing a drastic disservice to the female graduate and undergraduate students on their campus that are victims to repulsive acts of violence committed by their athletes. For these University administrators to be made aware of myriad sickening, ungovernable behaviors being conducted by Baylor football players and making no distinguishable effort to impose serious  discipline or remove the responsible individuals from the university is put simply, despicable. From the vantage point of Briles and Starr it is readily obvious that athletic success supersedes the safety and security and well-being  of their female students. And for these individuals to essentially view  women as collateral damage in their quest to collect championship trophies,both Kenneth Starr and Art Briles should be removed from their positions, effective immediately.

While those in the administrative positions should be removed, an additional pivotal step must be taken . A thorough independent investigation must be conducted in an effort to uncover  other potential criminal activity committed by members of other  BaylorArt Briles 1 Bear athletic programs. As the above paragraphs illustrate, Baylor University has treated  issues as serious as domestic violence and sexual assault with extreme indifference. If university administrators have been willing to overlook these serious matters involving football players in an effort to add more victories to the win column  , in essence, a complete culture of lawlessness has been enabled, endorsed, and encouraged. An inquiry into all 17 of Baylor’s varsity sports is crucial to determine if other student athletes are engaging in criminal activity;and if so are these individuals  being called to the carpet for their actions. If  an there is a complete systemic culture of illicit behavior running rampant throughout the entire Baylor athletic program, more swift  actions will be necessary.

In the end it is abundantly clear that Baylor University has cultivated and environment  that has enabled its football players to not be held responsible for their disgraceful deeds towards women. The behaviors of Shawn Oakman,Tevin Elliot, Myke Chapman, Devin Chafin, and a scores  of others has been permitted by Art Briles, Kenneth Starr and others in power in a quest to win games and benefit economically.  at the expense of the safety of the students on campus. It is imperative that wholesale changes and further investigation be conducted  at the university to ensure anyone committing  nauseating acts of violence are held responsible. If not, I am of the opinion that Baylor university should alter the universities   motto from “For Church,For Texas” to “For Football, For Money”.

Alexander Goodwin


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