The Big 12 will withhold 25 percent of future revenue distribution payments to Baylor University until the league is satisfied that school officials are complying with conference bylaws and Title IX requirements.
The conference’s school presidents voted unanimously to withhold the payments and place the money in escrow pending a “third-party review” of Baylor’s procedures, the league announced Wednesday. Last spring, the league distributed just over $30 million to each school.
Baylor was not included in the vote, but in a written statement interim President David E. Garland said the university was planning to hire an auditor and promised its full cooperation.
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He said the reduced distribution payment was unexpected, but that it would not affect the university’s finances. Based on last year’s disbursements of $30.4 million per school for the 2015-16 school year, a 25 percent cut in Baylor’s share would have been $7.6 million.
Garland said the review will allow the university to show that it is committed to preventing and addressing sexual assaults on campus. The university has adopted 105 recommendations to strengthen the safety and security of students, he said.
“No other university in the country has responded as aggressively and decisively as Baylor regarding incidents of sexual assaults on its campus,” he said.
In May, an investigation by the Philadelphia firm Pepper Hamilton found systematic failures in how Baylor responded to allegations of sexual assault by students, including football players. The lawyers said the failures by administrators, the athletic department and the football staff created a perception that “football was above the rules.”
Football coach Art Briles was fired, President Ken Starr was forced out and athletic director Ian McCaw resigned after Baylor released Pepper Hamilton’s report.
Court documents released last week revealed that Briles and assistant coaches actively worked to keep players’ misbehavior under wraps and tried to arrange legal representation for them.
“Under the university’s new leadership, Baylor has demonstrated a firm commitment to athletics compliance and integrity, increased awareness and prevention of sexual assault, implementation of Title IX best practices and providing comprehensive support services for any student in need of them,” Garland said.
In October, The Texas Tribune reported that the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating the university for its handling of sexual assaults on campus. Federal law requires that university officials investigate students’ claims of sexual assault against another student or university employee.
The former Baylor football coach attended the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp practice, watching from owner Jerry Jones’ tower, and met with reporters for about six minutes afterward. (Star-Telegram/Max Faulkner)
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This report contains information from The Associated Press and Star-Telegram archives.