NOTE: I'm an Aggie, but as a college football fan, I felt compelled to put words to paper.
You’ve no doubt heard that Head Football Coach Art Briles and University President Ken Starr are out at Baylor. These moves come after weeks if not months of speculation surrounding a pattern of sexual assault allegations and a lack of oversight in Waco. The findings of the investigation conducted by Pepper Hamilton can be found in full here, and Our Daily Bears has extensive coverage than I won’t bother replicating.
This is undoubtedly a massive college football story. It would be big no matter what program it was, but it’s made even bigger by Baylor’s meteoric rise to prominence from Big 12 doormat to national title contender under Briles’ watch. It will be covered from every angle, from the devastating affect it’s had on the victims, to the potential destination for Baylor players and recruits, but the bottom line is this: The scandal at Baylor is a loss for all of college football.
The sad unfolding of events at Baylor shines a light on a results-driven business where a "win at all costs" mentality can lead people and programs down a dangerous road. And while it would be irresponsible to paint all coaches and programs with the same brush, the sad truth is that Baylor is likely not alone in looking the other way when it comes to their football program. Are there other schools blatantly disregarding sexual assault charges and retaliating against accusers? My god I hope not. But it’s naïve to think there aren’t other programs out there doing – or at least tolerating – illegal, immoral or unethical acts because someone is a good coach or a great athlete.
This Machiavellian culture is not new, and realistically, it probably isn’t going away anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean we should just accept it. It’s human nature to try and get away with as much as others will tolerate, and as a whole, we let these programs get away with way too much. As much as college football is important to me, and so many of you, it’s not worth sacrificing principles. It’s not worth the exploitation of others. And it’s certainly not worth the emotional and physical harm suffered by several women in Waco.
I said on Twitter that I feel sorry for Baylor fans, and I mean it. Not because they lost their coach, or because they may not win as many football games, but because they were lied to just like the rest of us. It makes me sick to my stomach to read some of the things that happened at Baylor, and I can’t even imagine how I would feel if it happened at A&M, a place I think so highly of and promote so wholeheartedly. I’d feel angry, I’d feel betrayed, and on some levels, I’d think a little bit less of myself for not seeing things the way they truly were. And to be honest, that’s probably how all college football fans should feel right about now.