Tag Archives: Art Briles

New Bevo, Old Baylor

On Tuesday Baylor finally responded to the reports that Ken Starr has been fired from Baylor University. As of the latest report they still have not made a decision on whether or not they will fire Starr. The spokeswomen for Baylor, Tonya Lewis, said, “we will not respond to rumors, speculation or reports based on unnamed sources, but when official news is available, the University will provide it. We expect an announcement by June 3.” It is speculated that President Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw will be losing their jobs, but head football coach Art Briles will not. It will be interesting to see if it was just a rumor, but for the sake of Baylor I hope it isn’t.

The University of Texas has selected a new Longhorn steer mascot. The school had to select a new mascot because Bevo XIV, who was on the Texas sideline since 2004, passed away in October 2015. The mascot will be introduced for the 100th anniversary season of its first appearance. The longhorns will play Notre Dame on September 4, the first appearance of Bevo XV.

Nothing has been made official yet but from the sound of it Wil Grier will be able to play for West Virginia the first game of the 2017 season. Grier is enrolled at West Virginia but due to testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs he may not be able to play until mid season. According to Holgorsen this might change. Holgorsen said, “I fully anticipate him being eligible for the opening game of the 2017 season.” If there is a will there is a way. I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow the NCAA waives the rest of his suspension and lets him play the full season with the Mountaineers.

Bev Kearney sued Texas for at least one million dollars in damages in 2013. Kearney was the head track coach and had a romantic relationship with one of her sprinters over a decade earlier. It has taken so long for her to get justice because the University has been appealing the issue. Kearney is saying she was more harshly punished because she is black. A white male football coach did the same thing and was only reprimanded, not fired. Kearney is seeking statements from Mack Brown, former athletic director DeLoss Dodds, former school president Bill Powers and current women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky. The statements they will write are on how exactly they handled the situation at the time it was brought to their attention. This case has been swept under the rug recently due to the Baylor scandal, but it will be interesting to see what happens.

Sylvester Turner an alumni of the University of Houston believes that when Oklahoma comes to town on September 3, the Cougars will beat the Sooners by “14, or possibly 21 points.” Did I mention Sylvester Turner is also the mayor of Houston? He has turned a lot of heads by making this statement and has also provided some locker room motivation for the guys in Norman. The Cougars are coming off of a really great season, but I have a feeling the Sooners will be ready for them, especially after that comment.

As the time draws near, it looks less and less likely that the Big 12 presidents are going to vote against the Big 12 expansion. After all of the schools that have sold themselves to try to get into the Big 12 it looks like they will all be disappointed. Apparently, after six years, the Big 12 is not in the “decision-making” stage, so it probably won’t ever be. If no expansion happens I think the Big 12 will fall apart in the next couple of years and Oklahoma will be the first school to leave.

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Baylor and Art Briles Live Off of Redemption

Baylor Bears football coach Art Briles continues to have problems with his football players and sexual assault allegations. The most recent arrest of one of Briles’ players was Shawn Oakman. Prior to this incident involving Oakman, there were also incidents involving Tevin Elliot, Sam Ukwuachu and Tre’Von Armstead. Elliot’s transgressions were the most serial in nature given the fact that he was accused of sexually assaulting at least six women while at Baylor.

All of these players were eventually released from the football team. However, it is debatable just how seriously Briles and Baylor has taken these situations. As reported by Sports Illustrated, Briles said that he was “concerned” about these allegations involving his football players.

Tevin Elliot was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for his alleged sexual assault spree and all Briles can say is that he is “concerned.” Amazing. And what is even more unbelievable is the nonchalant attitude that the entire university seems to have taken at Baylor when it comes to allegations of sexual assault.

One woman, who has chosen to go by the name Tanya, was sexually assaulted by Elliot and when she attempted to report the incident and to receive help from Baylor, she was told that there was nothing the school could do for her.

In the linked Outside The Lines report, Tanya described her interaction with Baylor like this:

“They didn’t just not respond; they responded by turning me away and telling me that it was not possible for me to receive help from them…”

Title IX is not perfect, but it does offer sexual assault victims enough protection that the law should be considered to be sufficient. Being considered sufficient should be considered enough, but it does require schools such as Baylor to not only abide by the law but to also take the law seriously. Taking Title IX seriously is something that appears to be a struggle for Baylor.

The Department of Education alerted all schools to their Title IX responsibilities in April 2011. Those responsibilities included hiring a Title IX coordinator. It took Baylor approximately two-and-a-half years to hire their Title IX coordinator. It’s examples such as this that make me question how seriously Baylor takes Title IX. And if the school doesn’t take Title IX seriously then how can they expect any of their coaches to take it seriously? If there is a campus in America that is truly guilty of creating an environment that supports sexual assault, it just may be Baylor.

This is not a “Baylor football thing.” It is simply a “Baylor thing.” And that is not only completely unacceptable but it is also the definition of systemic.

Baylor is not the only school to have had students accused of or convicted of sexual assault. There is the ongoing controversy at Tennessee, the Virginia fraternity story, and prior issues surrounding both the Oklahoma and Missouri programs. However, unlike these other examples of sexual assault on campus, Baylor seems to get off easy in the court of public opinion.

Why is it that Baylor gets off easy?

I’ll attempt to answer this question by quoting myself:

But Baylor football has legitimate smoke surrounding its program and nobody wants to truly dig into the story. Remember that the Duke and Virginia cases were about privileged white boys. But the narrative is different for Baylor. For Baylor, the narrative is that they are a Baptist institution and a religious institution would never allow or tolerate this sort of behavior.

The idea is that this sort of thing would never happen at a school like Baylor because they are built on a foundation of Christian principles. At least that is what their mission statement tells us:

The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.

There is no doubt that Baylor believes in its Christian values, but the fact remains that it has a problem upholding its values at a systemic level. And this isn’t the first time Baylor has had grotesque issues. Do you remember Dave Bliss and his Baylor basketball program? You should.

Bliss was let go by Baylor, but the reasons behind his firing did not prevent Southwestern Christian University from eventually hiring him as their head basketball coach. Sports Illustrated quoted Southwestern Christian’s president as saying:

“Coach Bliss fits well within our mission and culture and embraces what a Christian-based education is all about.”

In the same article, another university representative justified the hiring of Bliss by saying this:

“SCU officials believe in redemption and believe Bliss has been transformed.”

So I will ask this question again. Why does Baylor get off easy in the court of public opinion while other schools are scrutinized and judged? The answer was provided to us by the unnamed Southwestern Christian University representative. It’s about redemption.

Redemption is at the heart of Christian principles and redemption can be an admirable quality. However, it is not admirable in situations like Baylor’s. It is time for the public to judge Baylor and Art Briles as harshly as they have judged Duke, Virginia, Oklahoma and Missouri.

E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.

Photo: RockIn’Rita/Flickr.

Big 12 Links: Three Random Shirtless Dudes…WHY?

Art Briles was named in a federal lawsuit by the rape victim who claims the school ignored warning signs surrounding sexual assault complaints. The player that was in question was Tevin Elliot. Tevin was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Jasmin Hernandez is claiming that Briles and other athletic officials failed to act when they brought Elliot on campus. Baylor University hired more staff to make sure nothing like this would happen again in the future.

Last week Texas sophomore quarterback Jarrod Heard suffered a shoulder injury during practice. No details have been released as to how serious the injury is. Rumors are that he might be out for a while which could really hurt his chances at getting the starting position. As of now there is a three-way competition for the starting quarterback job. Heard started most of the season last year, but Tyrone Swoops is the front-runner to win the job this year. It will be interesting to see just how injured Heard is.

Some current and former Iowa State football players were in South Padre Island, Texas for spring break. The last thing they thought would happen would be rescuing an intoxicated woman from her car. The Woman drove into a canal and as her car filled up with water the boys broke a hole in her windshield and pulled her out with a minute to spare. It wasn’t easy, but now they are heroes.

Baylor’s 2017 recruiting class has taken two huge recruiting blows. Their top two recruits in that class have de-committed.  4-Star wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon tweeted that he was de-committing. This comes after 5-Star linebacker Baron Browning de-committed last month.

West Virginia hired a new wide receivers coach this week. Coach Tyron Carrier will be in charge of the Mountaineers receivers. Carrier was a receiver and returner under Holgorsen when he was the head coach at Houston. Carrier knows the Big 12 because he was a grad assistant at Baylor in 2015. He worked with one of the top receiving corps when he was with the Bears. Carrier was a record setting returner at Houston. He finished at Houston with an NCAA record seven kickoff returns for touchdowns. He also set an NCAA record for making two or more receptions in all 53 games of his career. He will be a very good fit at West Virginia.

Harassment in College Sports – “Boys Being Boys” is No Excuse

Peyton Manning won Super Bowl 50 and is riding off into the sunset. That sunset is a self-made, paint by numbers landscape that is peddled by die hard Tennessee Volunteer fans.

In case you didn’t know, Manning harassed a Tennessee trainer, Dr. Jamie Naughright, while he was the quarterback for the Volunteers. This is not a new revelation to most us, but New York Daily News writer, Shaun King, recently placed a spotlight on the incident and everything that transpired after the initial transgression occurred.

Here is a description of the incident that took place between Manning and Naughright:

On Feb. 29 of that year, Naughright, at that point the university’s director of health and wellness, was in a training room, examining what she thought might be a possible stress fracture in Manning’s foot. At 6 feet, 5 inches, his feet dangled off the edge of the table. Manning allegedly then proceeded to scoot down the training table while Naughright examined his foot. At that point, she said, he forcefully maneuvered his naked testicles and rectum directly on her face with his penis on top of her head. Shocked, disgusted, and offended, Naughright pushed Manning away, removing her head out from under him.

Again, this is not old news to most of us, but the travesty is that nobody seems to have taken it seriously at the time it occurred and nobody seems to want to take it seriously now. In the list of people who want to trivialize the entire situation, you can add the Manning family to that list.

The Mannings and Naughright signed a confidentiality agreement and all parties agreed to remain silent on the situation. Then in 2001, Archie Manning wrote a book and included commentary on the situation that had taken place. And yet Peyton Manning continued, to this day, to live in his “good old boy” bubble.

For Volunteer fans, it is unfathomable that Manning could possibly be guilty of this. He’s just too darn pure for this sort of behavior. He’s been on Saturday Night Live and he endorses a long list of products. I mean, he’s just so likable. And because he’s a likable athlete, that somehow equates to honesty and moral integrity. These same fans probably believe that Manning has never been in the same room as HGH. I guess they don’t want a visit from his hired goons.

As I said, this is old news but this story supports a larger issue found in society. That issue is how flippant most of us are when it comes to athletes and sexual harassment. We say that we take sexual harassment seriously, but time and time again the facts suggest otherwise.

Let’s single the University of Tennessee out once again. In November 2014, Tennessee football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams were accusing of raping a female Tennessee student. In a new lawsuit, Tennessee football players are accused of assaulting their teammate, Dre Bowles. The issue that these players had with Bowles is that Bowles attempted to help the alleged rape victim. The lawsuit also accuses the University of Tennesse of being “deliberately indifferent” to the allegations and with creating a “hostile sexual environment” on campus.

Tennessee football coaches were allegedly present for the assault on Bowles and teammate Geraldo Orta had this to say about Bowles and his role in the situation:

“Bowles had betrayed the team and that where he (Orta) came from, people got shot for doing what Bowles did.”

All of the southern charm in the world shouldn’t make this acceptable, but it seems to be working out just fine for Tennessee. It’s astounding what people will tolerate when athletes are involved.

Baylor is at the top of a mountain that nobody would want to be perched on top of. If there is one campus in the country that takes the rape culture narrative and makes it a real story, it is Baylor. ESPN’s Outside The Lines has been on top of the story even though they, like the alleged rape victims, have been stonewalled as much as possible.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, if Baylor wasn’t a football powerhouse, every news agency from ESPN to Rolling Stone would be all over this. Society took down Duke over a lacrosse scandal that was based largely on taking down a bunch of privileged white boys. The accused lacrosse players were all falsely accused. Rolling Stone went after a Virginia fraternity and accused them of supporting a rape culture. The story was false and the fraternity is suing Rolling Stone.

But Baylor football has legitimate smoke surrounding its program and nobody wants to truly dig into the story. Remember that the Duke and Virginia cases were about privileged white boys. But the narrative is different for Baylor. For Baylor, the narrative is that they are a Baptist institution and a religious institution would never allow or tolerate this sort of behavior. Yes, I know the irony is that Duke is also a religious institution, but it’s about the narrative. Never forget the narrative.

As the examples of these situations continue to rise, all I see in response to them is faux outrage that seems to be rationalized as “athletes being athletes.” Title IX, like any other piece of regulatory procedure, can be manipulated like any other piece of regulation.

What has gone on at Tennessee and Baylor in particular has been disturbing and not a thing will happen to these schools or the coaches who are responsible for creating an environment that does not support self control. Remember, it’s about winning and Tennessee is poised for a big 2016 season and Baylor continues to be one of the dominating teams in the Big 12.

Neither Butch Jones or Art Briles will be held responsible for the environments that they have helped create at their institutions. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, they are just the next coach up in a series of coaches who set the foundation for this type of behavior long before either stepped foot in Knoxville or Waco.

E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SMerenbloom.

Featured image courtest of en.wikipedia.org

Sterlin Gilbert Is The Perfect Fit For Texas – Or Is He?

Charlie Strong is putting all of his chips in on new Offensive Coordinator Sterlin Gilbert turning his stagnant offense around. Now we will have to how serious Strong is about the transformation. 

I read an article recently that compared Gilbert to Jon Taffer from the TV show “Bar Rescue.” If you haven’t seen the show, it is basically about an entrepreneur that opened up a new bar business with high hopes, started failing, and then called Taffer to help save the bar and make it profitable again. The parallels to the Texas situation are scary similar. 

Like “Bar Rescue,” the Longhorns have struggled to succeed under head coach Charlie Strong. Some will argue that he’s been stubborn during his first two years and not backing down from the notion that defense will win the Big XII. The hiring of Gilbert shows that he’s willing to entertain the idea of changing his philosophy. But will he do it completely?

An offensive overhaul can’t happen overnight unless the conditions are perfect. The right coaches have to be in place, the practice methods have to be perfect and above all, the offensive coach has to be in control. That means Strong is going to have to take a step back on his defensive philosophy, as hard as it may be. 

Gilbert has the ability to turn the Longhorns around quickly on offense. I mean, we wouldn’t have seen the unprecedented event with the president, athletic director, head coach and position coach flying to Tulsa on a Friday evening during a big recruiting weekend if he wasn’t the guy they wanted. 

Strong needs to view Gilbert as a Jon Taffer. Put the pride and ego to the side and put your trust that he will get your problems fixed. Gilbert’s done it three other times at three different programs, so why try to fight it? Gilbert is the guy who will determine whether Strong’s tenure at Texas lasts any longer than 2016. 

Now what does Gilbert really have to work with?

Being a student of the Art Briles system, Gilbert runs the spread offense with an emphasis on the run game. He has to be salivating over the two-headed monster in the backfield with D’onta Foreman and Chris Warren that Texas has next year. However, he has a lot of work to do with his quarterback situation. 

It seems like there has been a quarterback controversy every season since Colt McCoy left in 2009. There’s no reason to believe that that won’t change for 2016. Many fans will assume that Jerrod Heard or Tyrone Swoopes will win the job in the offseason, but that may not be the case. 

Gilbert has already hit the recruiting trail to find a junior college quarterback that fits his system. He also has redshirt freshman Matthew Merrick waiting in the wings, along with true freshman Shane Buechele, who will be enrolling early. Arm strength and accuracy is critical in Gilbert’s offense. Don’t be surprised if this ends up being a battle between Merrick and Buechele because of that. 

Above all else, Gilbert has to have complete control of the offense. He was somewhat stubborn in the hiring process, because he wanted to see commitment from everyone, including all the way up to the president of the university. He got that. Now he’s got to see it in the meeting rooms and on the field. 

Strong has preached that he is building his program the right way, and that it will turn around. The problem is that as he enters year three at Texas, he has to completely tear it down and start from scratch. The only difference this time is that he has his own players that he recruited personally, and a coaching staff that he believes will make them elite again. He just has to follow through and allow the coaches to take the reigns in some aspects. 

If Strong doesn’t take a couple steps back like Gary Patterson did at TCU a couple years ago, then Texas will be a five or six win team again next year. That TCU team went from 4-8 and having one of the worst offenses in the country to being a 12-1 team that narrowly missed the College Football Playoff, and had one of the top offenses in the country. 

If Strong doesn’t take that to heart, and if he doesn’t follow the advice of his very own version of Jon Taffer, then he and Texas will fail again. 

The Not-So-Secret Recipe for the University of Houston’s Success

The Houston Cougars have been an interesting team to follow this season. Not too many people outside the state of Texas know much about them, but that could be changing in a few weeks.

As we stand, Houston is undefeated with two games left to play. But let’s not get carried away; their biggest opponents have been Memphis and Louisville. However, they have taken care of business with the schedule that they’ve been dealt.

The Cougars don’t have a strong enough schedule to be considered for the College Football Playoff, but we could be seeing them in a New Years bowl game as the best team outside of the Power 5 conferences. So why is Houston dominating this season after being an average team over the last few seasons?

The answer is simple: Tom Herman.

For those who don’t know, Herman is the first-year head coach of the Cougars after being Ohio State’s offensive coordinator for their championship run a year ago. He has always been a highly regarded coordinator, but now you can expect his name to be on a short list for teams looking for a head coach.

Herman has been successful in Houston because he has a lot of ties to the state of Texas. He coached for 10 years for different programs in Texas before spending time elsewhere. Now he is back in Texas and has picked up where he left off. And he just may have picked a coaching hotbed to propel his career.

Houston has been a starting point for several head coaches recently. The most notable coaches are Art Briles of Baylor and Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M. The common theme between those coaches is that they had success at Houston with offensive minds and now have been at their current jobs ever since. Herman could be going down that same path.

Assuming Herman wants to be a head coach in a Power 5 conference, he may want to stay where he’s at for a little while. He seems to have a good handle on recruiting in the state of Texas, so it’s probably best that he stays within the state for his next head coaching job. The only problem is, there aren’t many high profile Texas programs that are actively looking for a head coach right now.

An interesting fit for Herman would be at the University of Texas. The Longhorns have struggled under Charlie Strong, and the rumblings about him possibly leaving are starting to get louder. It’s unlikely that Strong will get fired at the end of this year, but that could be a different story if Texas has the same result next year.

Herman doesn’t have enough head coaching experience yet to inherit a team that is rebuilding. If he came into a situation like at Texas where Strong has been bringing in some solid recruits to work with, then Herman could hit the ground running and see success virtually overnight. But he has to have something to work with already.

Programs like USC, South Carolina and Miami likely won’t be courting Herman too strongly this offseason, so Houston fans can probably rest easy for now. Briles and Sumlin spent at least three years at Houston before moving on, so it actually may be in Herman’s best interest to wait for the right fit.

College football programs are becoming increasingly more impatient when it comes to their head coach. If Herman finishes this season undefeated and has success again at Houston for a couple more seasons, he will likely be able to cherry pick his next job. But if he starts hovering around a .500 season for a couple of years, then we could be talking about a completely different story with him.

I believe Herman is going to be successful at Houston during his tenure and he will land a high profile job in the near future. The only hope Houston fans have for keeping him is if some crazy realignment scenario happens where the Cougars end up in the Big XII or another Power 5 program. With the ways things are going, it doesn’t appear that will be likely over the next few years.

Readers of More Than A Fan need to remember Tom Herman’s name. Give it a few years and we could be talking about him being the head coach at a major college program and having some big time success. Unfortunately, it just won’t happen at the University of Houston.

Sorry UH fans.

The College Quickie: Predictions – Sometimes You’re Right, Sometimes You’re Wrong

Here’s the thing about predictions, you’ll get some right and you’ll get some wrong. I am no exception to that rule. If you listened to the Campus Pressbox podcast “2015 College Football Season Preview”, you heard my predictions on how I thought the season would transpire. Give it another listen and then swing back to The Quickie to see how things are shaking out around the country.

THE SEC

If there is one thing the East has taught us in the past, it is to not count our chickens before they hatch. Georgia appears to be cruising, but let’s face it, we’ve seen this before with the Dawgs. There is only one thing I’m confident in and that is if Georgia stumbles again Missouri will not be the beneficiary of the East crown.

Then there is the wild, wild, West. I don’t know who Kiffin is or isn’t sleeping with but what I do know is that Alabama does not appear to be invincible this year. After Ole Miss took it to the Crimson Tide, everyone assumed that they were the best team in the country by default. The Rebels may have some competition for the top spot in the West given how LSU and Texas A&M have performed.

THE ACC

Going into the season, I was all in with Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets currently sit at 2-2 with a loss to Duke. In terms of that second tier of the ACC, the Yellowjackets will have some competition with Louisville. Louisville is 1-3 but only one of those losses came within the conference and perhaps the non-conference schedule has prepared them for the ACC haul…or maybe it hasn’t. One thing appears certain and that is that Florida St. just keeps on trucking. Maybe it’s because they are just that good or maybe it’s because the ACC is just a diluted conference.

THE BIG 12

I’ll be honest, it’s just so easy to pick on this conference. Just take your pick. There is the dumpster fire in Lawrence, the soap opera in Texas, and the bickering of Gary Patterson, Art Briles and Bob Stoops.

However, where it really matters appears to be a repeat of last season and that means that TCU and Baylor are sitting on top of the conference. Yes, it is true that TCU squeaked by Texas Tech, but a win is a win. Oklahoma St. may be a real contender, but until they play either TCU or Baylor, I’ll reserve my judgment on the Cowboys.

The PAC-12

Don’t let my affiliation with the SEC fool you, the PAC-12 is my boy. At least that’s what I suggested on the preview podcast. The conference has taken some heat for their collective on field performance but I do still think they are the best conference in the country.

Utah is just plain taking care of business and USC is still impressive to me even though they lost to Stanford. In this day and age of parity, a loss here and there doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to.

The PAC-12 also seems to be offering up this year’s Cinderella story. The California Bears are 4-0 behind the arm of Jared Goff. While I love the conference as a whole, I’m just not sold on the Bears yet. Yes, they are 4-0 but they have played nobody that has a legitimate pulse. They get to feast on Washington St. this weekend and then take on Utah. Check back with me after the Bears travel to Rice-Eccles Stadium. A win would make me a believer but so would a close loss.

THE BIG TEN

Hey, did you hear? Ohio St. has like 15 quarterbacks! Well, it’s not quite to that extreme, but the Buckeyes seem to have an on again, off again quarterback controversy. Urban Meyer is sticking with Cardale Jones but J.T. Barrett seems to be lurking in the background. Props to Meyer for having made a decision and sticking with it. But come on, with the talent tOSU has across the board, it doesn’t really matter who the quarterback is between the two options.

Michigan St. was my pick to win the conference and I suppose I’m sticking with that choice. However, like so many other teams around the country, they have had their ups and downs. Even with their shaky play at times, they do remain undefeated at 4-0.

Then there is the khaki wearing prince of Ann Arbor, Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh got off to an impressive start against Utah. True, the Wolverines lost that game, but only by seven points. Since that game one loss, Michigan has won their last three games by an average score of 31-5. The cherry on top of their three game win streak was a 31-0 shutout of BYU. As for that other division in The Big Ten, they might as well be the SEC East only more watered down.

The Blame for Baylor

I would like to pretend that the people defending Sam Ukwuachu, even after the guilty verdict was reached, were just doing so for shock value. I would like to pretend that the people claiming Baylor should get the dreaded NCAA “Death Penalty” had no ground to stand on. I would like to pretend that covering up sexual assault on a collegiate level was something that didn’t happen nationwide. The situation surrounding Baylor University and the either blissful ignorance of facts or heavy attempt at covering up the details is about as real as can be. Sam Ukwuachu was sentenced to 10 years of felony probation and placed in county jail for 180 days. There is no taking sides on the fact Ukwuachu was found guilty and was facing up to twenty years in prison.

Art Briles was told by Ukwuachu’s former coach, Chris Petersen, the reason for Ukwuachu leaving was due to being “depressed” and needing to get closer to home. This, of course, is according to Art Briles. What Petersen claims he told him was the exact situation and the grisly details of Ukwuachu’s issues with aggression and horrible temper. In the documents obtained by Texas Monthly, the relationship was determined by Boise State staff members to be “NOT a healthy relationship.”

The sentence Sam Ukwuachu is actually serving is nothing compared to the lifetime of issues his victim will face.

 

Read those statements by the victim. Feel the emotion and the pain behind the fact that she can’t even trust the male gender anymore because of what Ukwuachu did to her without her consent. Where does the blame fall now? Where exactly do fingers point when the victim can no longer live a normal life and suffers from PTSD over the entire situation? The blame can only be placed squarely on Ukwuachu’s shoulders. Without his forced actions, there would be no rape and there would be no cover up scandal going on.

There is no defending Ukwuachu now that he has been found guilty of second degree sexual assault. Somehow, of course, people in the media have found the ability to victim blame. One example:

Sadly, some people view the Boise State girlfriend as lying about her experiences with Ukwuachu because she went to visit him at Baylor. The people agreeing with such statements as seen above must know little to nothing about the cycle of domestic violence. One of the main reasons that my sports blog is raising money for our local domestic violence victim’s shelter is because of the intense process that it takes to break the behavior patterns associated with abuse. These women will be going through intense therapy for a long time (if not their entire life) as well as having to live with the judgement and criticism from others that usually comes with a high profile case like this. The 180 day sentence with ten years of felony probation doesn’t seem like much compared to living with PTSD and trust issues of the opposite sex for the rest of your life.

[Lindekugel: When Winning on the Field is More Important Than Losses Off it]

Baylor University did not provide a safe environment for one of their female students. Art Briles did not do enough background research on why Ukwuachu was let go from Boise State’s team. Chris Petersen did not make it as clear as he could have about Ukwuachu’s past. Bethany McCraw did not do her job to her best ability. The media did not pry enough into the reason Ukwuachu wasn’t playing. Boise State did not make a public statement about Ukwuachu’s release from the team being due to his violent nature. Whatever angle it is that you want to talk about, the blame rests solely on one person. Sam Ukwuachu should not have sexually assaulted anyone.

Where do we go from here? The answer is obvious to me, but might not be the answer coaches across this country want to hear. If a student athlete has violent history, temperament issues, accusations of sexual assault, character issues, etc. then it needs to be made known to the college looking to take them in. Someone on the Boise State staff knew of Ukwuachu’s violent temper, enough to write it down in his dismissal paperwork. Someone knew that he needed help of a different sort and didn’t feel the need to assist in the process of getting said help for Ukwuachu. The NCAA has an incredibly revolting past of dealing with female accusations of sexual assault in the wrong manner and it is time they start handling these situations differently. The Southeastern Conference has already made it known that they will not accept transfers who have been dismissed at their previous school for “serious misconduct.” That term was defined as sexual assault, domestic assault and other forms of sexual violence. It’s time that every conference adapts this rule and makes it impossible for those with charges related to sexual violence to play college football.

Leave a comment below, follow Gracey on Twitter @GAT_Attack or e-mail her at [email protected].

When Winning on the Field is More Important Than Losses Off it

It’s not worth it. The risk versus reward isn’t worth it to take on a player such as Sam Ukwuachu. In Baylor’s case, not only did the school fail to properly evaluate that risk, they failed as a university in their obligation to protect its students.

It is a coach’s job throughout recruiting to not only identify talent, but also to determine what type of kid the recruit is. This job doesn’t go away when a recruit transfers, and in Ukwuachu’s case, Baylor’s Art Briles didn’t have to guess. He already had a glimpse into what kind of person Ukwuachu is. Not excluding the player based on this was his first mistake. Boise State has been a solid program for a decade now, but they are not exactly in a position to just dismiss Freshman All-American type talent. That should have been a huge red flag. Ukwuachu referred to his dealings with Boise State coaches and ultimate departure from the Broncos as “A minor problem”. Again, I don’t think Boise State is simply letting that kind of talent walk away because of “a minor problem”. You would think that Baylor could have dug deeper into Ukwuachu’s departure and ultimately realized the situation. This is 2015, you can’t hide anything forever.

In the end Baylor decided, as most programs do, that a player with that much talent is worth bringing in. Barely two months into Baylor’s 2013 season, Ukwuachu sexually assaulted a freshman Baylor soccer player. This is where leadership in the Waco community failed miserably. The Waco (Texas) Police Department looked into the case but never pressed charges. Why not? The female went to the hospital the next day, and the rape kit showed signs of assault. No DNA from Ukwuachu was taken. What is the point of the rape kit if the results aren’t going to be taken seriously?

At least Baylor University would have done something, right? Since schools require a lesser burden of proof you would think they’d take the initiative in assisting one of their students who had just undergone a traumatic experience. Instead, the school performed a half-assed investigation and made the female adjust her schedule to avoid encountering Ukwuachu instead of the other way around. I can’t even begin to understand the rationale that went behind that. Considering the circumstances surrounding the (at that point) alleged assault, Baylor should have kicked the defensive end off the team right then. After his departure from Boise State, there was a pattern of aggression that indicates someone who needs help.

Instead, what happens appears to be a pretty blatant cover-up. In hindsight, this is where the story starts to look bad. In this day and age, how does NO ONE find out about what happened? An athlete can’t do anything without it ending up on TMZ. How does no one in the local media investigate to find out why a freshman All-American transfer is held out for a whole season? Now in a sense, I can understand why the football team wouldn’t want this getting out. We’ve seen what happens in 2015 when an athlete is being investigated for this type of crime. They’re immediately raked over the coals along with the program they are a part of. It doesn’t mean they’re innocent, but if they ultimately are, it was completely unfair to the player and university. I’m not assessing guilt or innocence of Jameis Winston, but remember how that situation was for Florida State.

If Briles wants to hide the reason why Ukwuachu was suspended, I kind of see where he’s coming from. That doesn’t mean I would have done the same thing, or that it was the right thing to do. And if Baylor went out of its way to hide or cover up the information, that’s a much bigger problem.

As if the secrecy of the whole situation wasn’t bad enough, the back and forth between Briles and former Boise Head Coach Chris Petersen has only made matters worse. Adding in Briles’ repeated “clarifications” of his initial comments has disintegrated any solid reputation he had left. Going against Petersen in a he said-he said war of words is just about the worst case scenario for Briles considering Petersen’s reputation as a respectable, up-standing coach. Having a player on your team commit sexual assault is a huge negative for a program, obviously. But a coach can survive that. If, however, Briles has been lying since the story broke then that is what will get him in the hottest of waters.

It really comes down to which coach you believe, and it feels like 99.5% of people outside of Waco are siding with Petersen’s story. But do we really know if either lied? It’s easy to connect the dots and say that because Ukwuachu’s ex-girlfriend at Boise State testified saying she was physically abused by him at Boise that Broncos coach Chris Petersen knew of this and it would have been included in his informing Art Briles. But I haven’t read anywhere that there was record of Ukwuachu abusing his ex-girlfriend at Boise. What I did read was that she had previously mentioned that she may not admit it if he harmed her physically. Isn’t it possible there was physical abuse that she never reported? If not, drunken aggression and punching through a window still could have been the last straw that pushed Petersen to dismiss Ukwuachu, on top of everything else. I only bring this up to illustrate that it’s possible Petersen did tell Briles everything, only that the “everything” he knew didn’t include a previous domestic assault. I am certainly not taking a side. Even without knowledge of domestic violence, the rest of Ukwuachu’s history should have been enough for Briles to walk away without providing him a second chance. If he did know of the domestic violence, he should probably be fired.

Normally in situations like this, I would expect the university to do just that. Fire the coach to save some face, perform some internal investigation to look good, and try to limit the damage. Because of how badly the school itself screwed this up, I’m not even sure firing Briles would help. He obviously looks bad, but most can chalk up the reasoning to ‘There’s another football coach trying to get any edge he can’. But what’s the school’s excuse? It’s their job to provide a quality, safe environment for its students. The administration shouldn’t let the football program control it, though many across the country probably operate this way. Once allowing that type of player into your school, how do you expose your students to him as a tutor? Then, once the assault occurs, to barely investigate and inconvenience the assaulted rather than the assaulter is mind-boggling. How could they expect anyone to respect or trust their school, let alone parents of college-ready high school girls across the country? Not only did the administration protect its precious football team, it failed to recognize the damage it could do to the academic institution itself.

Nobody comes out looking good in this. The firestorm escalated so quickly it’s hard to determine what the gasoline was and what the match was. Was the worse issue the second chance that Baylor initially gave Ukwuachu? Or was it the apparent cover-up of the initial indictment, followed by Briles’/Baylor’s actions once it came to light? Regardless, it’s clear, and has been clear for a while, that coaches need to do much more homework on players and be a little more stringent in doling out second chances. You can be sure that they will, at least in the immediate future. No coach wants to be in a similar position as Art Briles. And you can bet every school is feeling the same, because an athlete isn’t worth the risk of tarnishing an entire university’s reputation and the safety of its students.

Leave a comment below, follow Jason on Twitter @JLindy87 or e-mail him at [email protected].

The Pipeline – August 22, 2015: When Administrators fail to Protect Those who Cannot Protect Themselves

  1. Baylor’s Ukwuachu Convicted, Sentenced

The first story out of the Pipeline this week is another disturbing tale of sexual violence.

On Friday afternoon Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was sentenced to felony probation for 10 years following a conviction of second-degree sexual assault on Thursday.

There are a plethora of details surrounding this case.  Jessica Luther and Dan Solomon of Texas Monthly have connected dots that go back even before the night of October 19, 2013 when the incident in question occurred. In this storyline we have a previous accusation of sexual assault, a transfer, a questionable investigation, a shady cover-up, a denial of any prior knowledge, overall a very sticky situation for everyone involved at Baylor.  Go read the full report for all the details. In addition, we have two premier college coaches with conflicting stories.  Former Boise State head coach (and current head coach at Washington) Chris Petersen has said that he informed Baylor head coach Art Briles why he had dismissed Ukwuachu from his team.  Briles, on the other hand, has maintained that he knew not of Ukwuachu’s violent past at Boise State, insisting he likes “the way we’ve handled it as a university, an athletic department, and a football program.”

Follow the fallout here.  We will update as more relevant information becomes available.

  1. Injury Bug Continues to Bite Tennessee Guards

Redshirt sophomore Austin Sanders will miss the 2015 season due to a torn biceps tendon.  This news, just a week and a half after the Vols learned they would be without Marcus Jackson this fall.

Ironically, Sanders and Jackson, who play the same offensive guard position, suffered the same upper arm injury.

These losses could result in a lack of depth on the interior of the line.  Head coach Butch Jones is staying positive, saying, “The good thing, the positive thing going in is we’ve recruited the have some depth at the offensive-line position.”  He went on to suggest that incoming freshmen Chance Hall and Jack Jones are possible fill-ins.

This is bad news for a Tennessee team that finished 13th in the SEC (ahead of only Vanderbilt) in rushing yards per attempt (3.6), and per game (146.4) in 2014.

  1. Sprained MCL for Alabama Receiver Foster

Alabama football beat writer for AL.com Matt Zenitz reported on Thursday that redshirt sophomore Robert Foster sprained an MCL in a scrimmage last Saturday, according to a source.  The injury, however, has not kept Foster off of the practice field this week.

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Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Foster caught just six balls for 44 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2014, but is looking at a drastic increase in playing time this fall due to the departures of Tide receivers Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones.

Foster has impressed his coaches in spring practice and fall camp.  He and ArDarius Stewart, another redshirt sophomore, were named co-MVPs of the Alabama spring game in April.  Foster racked up 125 yards on six receptions that day.

Replacing the explosive Amari Cooper becomes even more difficult for the Tide if one of their top targets is hobbling around on a bad leg.

  1. Three Gators Suspended for Season Opener

Alex McCalister, Marcus Maye, and Latroy Pittman will not be on the field when Florida opens the season at home against New Mexico State.  The suspensions were handed down on Friday in accordance with “University Athletic Association policy.”

McCalister, a defensive lineman, and Maye, a defensive back, are both projected starters for the Gators in 2015.  Pittman is a role player at receiver.

Luckily, the 36-point favorite shouldn’t need all hands on deck to defeat the lowly Aggies.

  1. Ricky Town to Transfer from USC to Arkansas

Finally, we have a bit of good news for someone this week.

Before he even really started his freshman season in southern California, Ricky Town has announced he will be heading to Fayetteville.

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Credit: 247Sports

Town enrolled early at USC to participate in spring practices.  Now he will join the Razorbacks just before the start of the season.  The highly touted recruit competed in the U.S Army All-American game and the Elite 11 camp after his high school senior season.

This is a big win for Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks whose offense relies on a strong pro-style quarterback.  Town fits that profile, and will have four years of eligibility starting in 2016.