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This Week’s Worst Person In The World Of Sports: Baylor University

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This is without question some serious low-hanging fruit, as the Baylor University administration would qualify as “worst person” (corporations are people, so I’m sure school administrations can be classified as such) essentially every week in recent history. But as details emerge regarding the horrific sexual misconduct of students and athletes — and the ineptitude and purposeful manipulation of victims on the part of the Administration employed to protect them — it’s time to definitively state: Fuck you, Baylor.

This bastion of unending hypocrisy actually had the nerve to outlaw dancing until the mid 1990s, creating a real life Footloose in Waco while explicitly banning “fornication,” adultery, and homosexual acts until just last year. While the football program, apparently immune to punishment due to their championship pedigree (oh wait), behaved in a deplorable manner rivaling only that of Jerry Sandusky in college football’s Hall of Shame.

While obviously the stories themselves are grotesque, what I read today regarding Baylor’s standard policy of dealing with victims alleging rape, sexual assault and/or misconduct is about as sickening as any administrative policy I’ve read outside of human rights abominations in third world countries. Baylor required the victims, recounting the details of what was likely the most traumatic and scarring event of their lives, to share their experiences, where they were, what they were doing, and the details of the event itself with their parents. Yes, their fucking parents.

In a world in which “guilty until proven innocent” monstrosities litter college campuses, allowing a regretful, but consensual night destroy the life of the accused immeasurably in a sensationalized culture eager to conclude instead of learn, I am sensitive to the necessary measures taken to ensure the validity of such incendiary claims. Forcing someone to discuss a sexual experience, the use of drugs, alcohol, and or behavior NONE of us would ever want our parents knowing about, after possibly being sexually assaulted, is not only over the line, but abhorrently disgusting.

I guarantee you the shit I was doing early on in college would have left me cut off and maxing out credit cards with Bovada deposits to eat and pay tuition. Forcing a victim to disclose such things to their parents, in perhaps the nation’s most conservative state, can only be construed as a means of discouraging claims through fear of consequences to the victim. I cannot think of a reasonable alternative to the rationale behind such a policy.

Yet, even as Baylor attempted to transition from the stone age of rampant inequality to the world we now live in, eliminating the aforementioned fornication and homosexual activity from its list of explicitly banned activities, after the exposure of this year’s scandal, Baylor still did not grant immunity from expulsion to victims claiming sexual assault. The sort of “vile” conduct that can lead to expulsion? Drug use and underage drinking. So, as the victim of sexual assault, if you had been drinking, smoking, or doing any of the litany of substances college students all over the world indulge in every weekend, you run the risk of expulsion, severe punishment from your family, humiliation, and, in the event you are not expelled, discipline from the university.

Does any of this sound fair? Sound like something that should be going on in the United States of America? Not to me. Baylor claims to be “making changes” to the administrative and student conduct policy, an initiative rivaling “Bernie or bust” rallies in their “too little too late” ineptitude. It is befuddling that a major university, the largest Baptist school of higher education in the nation, could persist with archaic and fundamentally immoral policies for so long, needing tragedy and the immeasurable pain of its own students to prompt any sort of meaningful change.

Art Briles, the now disgraced former Baylor head football coach, has vowed to coach again in 2017. I sincerely hope this is not the case, but if it does come to fruition, I’ll be rooting against him more than I did against Steph Curry in game 7. I hope you’ll all do the same.

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