Baylor University is making sweeping changes to its athletic and academic leadership in the wake of a sexual assault scandal involving numerous football players.
The school announced Thursday it has suspended coach Art Briles with intent to terminate him after eight seasons.
In addition, school president Ken Starr has been removed as president and will transitions into role of chancellor; he remains a professor at the Baylor law school. Dr. David Garland has been named interim university president. Athletic director Ian McCaw has been sanctioned and placed on probation.
A report from Pepper Hamilton, an outside law firm hired by Baylor last fall, found the school "failed to take appropriate action to respond to reports of sexual assault and dating violence reportedly committed by football players. The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the University."
he report also found Baylor administrators actively discouraged some complainants from reporting or participating in student conduct processes and in one case constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.
Garland apologized to Baylor's students, alumni and supporters for the school's handling of sexual assaults.
Board of Trustees chair Richard Willis said on a teleconference Thursday that the school contacted the NCAA about potential rules violations related to the matter and that Baylor would cooperate with an NCAA inquiry.
A person with direct knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter said that the Baylor Board of Regents did not view any of the three key leaders involved in the sexual assault scandal — Briles, Starr or McCaw — as irreplaceable, and that the football program had reached a level of success that it would not backslide to the bottom of the Big 12 were Briles no longer the coach.
But Briles had come under fire after two players in the program had been convicted of sexual assault and another was under investigation.
n 2014, defensive end Tevin Elliott was sentenced to 20 years in prison for two counts of sexual assault against a former Baylor student in 2012. Defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexually assaulting a women last year. Standout defensive end Shawn Oakman is currently under investigation on allegations he sexually assaulted a woman earlier this year.
More alleged transgressions by Baylor football players were alleged in a recent ESPN report. Briles, Starr and the team chaplain were aware of sexual assault allegations against former Bears running back Devin Chafin, but the school didn't hand down any discipline, according to the report.
Source: USA Today