If you haven’t been following what’s happening at Baylor University, you should probably start. The school has been marred in scandal over the last few years due to player misconduct, but term “misconduct” lacks the gravity of what’s actually happening in Waco. Before the start of last season, Baylor fired former head football coach, Art Briles, amidst allegations that members of the coaching staff neglected to report violations committed by players on the team. While most of these allegations pertained to sexual assault, others included aggravated assault, driving under the influence and animal cruelty. Needless to say, none of these allegations are anything to scoff at, but the NCAA still neglected to take action against Baylor after players were convicted for their alleged crimes. Kenneth Starr stepped down from his position as President and Briles was gone, yet a majority of the coaching staff still stayed on board. In terms of suspensions, the NCAA left it to the university to decide what happened to their players and the world kept on spinning.
Just one year later Baylor is dealing with a similar issue, involving the potential gang rape and shaming of a former women’s volleyball player. A civil suit has been filed, but it seems that the NCAA will do nothing yet again. It’s not that it doesn’t have the authority to act on such issues. It’s that the organization has zero moral backbone. The NCAA will come after you and your family if you buy a student athlete a $15 dinner at Chili’s, but will turn the other cheek if another commits an act of rape. Some might say that the NCAA has taken action against similar issues in the past. Sure, it was forced to punish Penn State upon discovering that one of their coaches was molesting children for several decades, but that was simply due to public outcry. When it comes to issues related to state and federal law, the NCAA usually neglects to take action unless it feels the need to save face.
Some believe that the NCAA needs to provide oversight for collegiate sports, because their regulations serve as a series of rules/guidelines that all schools must adhere to. Well, I’ll be the first to tell you that is an absolute crock of sh*t. Why? Because unlike Federal and State laws that adhere to some level of objectivity, NCAA regulations are completely arbitrary. Schools will often receive lesser punishments if their athletic programs produce more revenue for the NCAA. Don’t believe me? Let’s talk about something as simple as academic fraud. The University of North Carolina is one of the most valuable teams in college basketball. An investigation began back in 2011 when rumors of academic dishonesty emerged, but reached its pinnacle in 2014 when it was discovered that the University was offering fraudulent classes for their student athletes. Interestingly enough, the NCAA’s hands remained tied throughout the process. UNC took internal action, didn’t lose a single scholarship and didn’t receive a postseason ban. The situation at Southern Methodist University was quite different on the other hand. When it was discovered that a school administrator helped Keith Frazier become eligible to play at SMU, the NCAA took immediate action. Larry Brown (SMU’s former head basketball coach) was dealt a 20 game suspension, the team received a postseason ban and had 9 scholarships taken away for the next 3 years. No one is saying that either one of these schools did the right thing, but there’s a glaring disparity between the punishments received by both teams.
The situation at Baylor is no different. The school has a strong athletic program and is part of a major conference. As a result, it produces more revenue for the NCAA. The NCAA practices their oversight whenever it deems necessary and it’s once again ignoring an issue that actually requires it. The organization itself lacks structure and fails to uphold the integrity of collegiate athletics. It won’t raise an eyebrow when your daughter is raped, but it’ll step in when a player receives condolence donations after his entire family dies in a fire (See the case of Emmanuel Omogbo). If the NCAA is being given the power to uphold the moral integrity of collegiate sports, why has the organization continuously proven that morality has nothing to do with their decision making process? Oh yes, because money supersedes integrity at all times.
Once again, the NCAA has proven that it’s a broken and useless mechanism.