The hammer has dropped on two leading figures at Baylor University.
Kenneth Starr has been moved out of the president’s office and “demoted” to the role of Baylor chancellor. I guess within the Baylor system, the chancellor is more of a figurehead than an actual administrator.
Meanwhile, head football coach Art Briles has been “suspended.” Baylor regents, though, said they intend to fire the coach.
What’s more, Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw has been placed on probation.
This is a big deal. It centers on a sex scandal at the Waco school.
Two players were convicted of sexual assault. The trouble erupted, though, when allegations surfaced that the school didn’t take the charges seriously enough initially.
“We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus,” said Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. “This investigation revealed the university’s mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students. The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us.”
And just why is this a big deal? Because, the football program had been rebuilt. Baylor was getting a lot of money because its football team was winning a lot of games. The school rebuilt its stadium. Coach Briles was seen a major celebrity at Baylor.
As for Starr, well, I’ve already commented on the rich irony of his dismissal. Recall that Starr served as special counsel to Congress, which charged him with looking into the Whitewater real estate deal involving President and Mrs. Clinton. The Whitewater probe then morphed into an investigation into a sexual relationship between President Clinton and a young White House intern.
That investigation culminated in the president’s impeachment on charges that he lied to a grand jury.
Sex consumed that investigation … just as it has consumed the university that Starr has led for the past couple of years.
Irony? You bet.
This isn’t the first time a big-name football has been taken down by a sex scandal. Penn State University fired the legendary Joe Paterno after one of his assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky, was accused of sexual abuse of boys. Sandusky has been convicted of multiple felonies and is serving time in prison. The question became: What did JoePa know and when did he know it?
The same thing can be asked of Coach Briles and Kenneth Starr.
Someone has to be held responsible. Who better than two of the men at the top of the chain of command?