Earlier today, the Big 12 Conference announced that its Board of Directors voted unanimously to withhold 25% of future revenue distribution to Baylor “pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.” The statement, available on Big12Sports.com, directly references changes Baylor promised to make, presumably meaning the 105 Pepper Hamilton recommendations announced last May. Baylor has committed itself to implementing all 105 recommendations and established a website for tracking that implementation that was last updated in November. I assume we will see another update soon.
Immediately after the Big 12 announced its action, Baylor issued a response from Dr. Garland, interim president of the University. That response, in pertinent part (with the entirety available on Baylor.edu) is in the box at right:
A couple of things worthy of note here: First, the Conference has not “docked” or “fined” Baylor at this time; it is withholding future revenue until such time as an independent review verifies Baylor’s progress, implying that Baylor will receive such revenue if/when that review concludes successfully. Second, as indicated in the quote above, Baylor already planned an independent audit verifying its implementation of the PH recommendations, so the Big 12’s action won’t require us to do anything we wouldn’t have otherwise done. Reports from the Baylor side indicate that the implementation and associated audit could be completed as early as this coming May, and the Big 12 won’t even announce member distributions until June.
In the grand scheme of things, as I indicated on Twitter this morning, while the Big 12’s action feels somewhat like grandstanding (particularly from Boren), I have a hard time seeing this as anything except an opportunity for Baylor to demonstrate our progress and resolve to our colleagues and the world. As I said above, Baylor has committed itself to implementing all 105 PH recommendations without reservation. This is something we’ve said we’d do all along. With this action, the Big 12 is basically telling us to put our money where our mouth is — if we do what we said, the impact should be minimal. If we don’t, we lose millions of dollars. The burden is on us, as it should be, to show real change. Like Baylor, I welcome this opportunity.