I’m a sad Bear today. Sad because of what has happened at the Baylor we know and love. Baylor’s Christian mission played a large role in my desire to attend the university. And going to Baylor was one of the very best decisions that I’ve ever made. I met the woman that would eventually become my wife on the first day of freshman orientation. I made countless friends that I know that I can count on for life. Baylor has opened doors for me that I would’ve never imagined possible otherwise.
Which makes the news that has come down today hurt that much more. I cringe that these events were swept under the rug by the football staff, athletic department, and university as a whole as the Pepper Hamilton report clearly indicates. I feel anger for the victims of these heinous crimes that had their stories repeatedly go unheard or unnoticed. This goes directly against Baylor’s Christian mission, something that I know so many of us hold in deep regard. I hope that these women feel at least a small sense of closure in the news that came down today. I trust that the decisions that were made by the Board of Regents are done with the best interest of Baylor University in mind, and that real changes can be made for the betterment of our institution and the students that call it home.
It’s not going to be easy. These next few months are going to be painful. These findings have tarnished the name and reputation of Baylor University and it’s going to take time to rebuild that trust. It’s on us now as the Baylor family to carry the torch and ensure that Baylor is a leader in the area of on-campus sexual assault. We’ve all heard this in the last few weeks but this is not just a Baylor issue. This is a national issue that is just now really being brought into the spotlight as it should have been many years ago. I hope and pray that other schools around the country can learn from our obvious failings and that we can ensure the safety of our current and future students in what should be a transformational time in their lives.
As for Baylor football, obviously this is a crushing blow to the program. But pardon me if that’s not at the forefront of my thought process today. Obviously the report indicates that these incidents were not exclusive to the football program but just in general, we as a culture put a little too much stock in on-field results and the "win at all costs" attitude. Listed in the mission statement on baylor.edu: "Established to be a servant of the church and of society, Baylor seeks to fulfill its calling through excellence in teaching and research, in scholarship and publication, and in service to the community, both local and global." Winning the most football games isn’t listed anywhere in there. I’m as guilty as anybody of getting caught up in this sports crazed world. But life needs to come first.
Baylor we are. Baylor we’ll always be. It’s up to us to define what that means. Now it’s time that we put those words into action.