(WACO, Texas) — The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions levied punishments against Baylor University on Wednesday, following the conclusion of its investigation into several alleged rules violations.
According to a news release, the committee determined that Baylor provided impermissible benefits to student-athletes and violated recruiting rules between 2011 and 2016. They could not, however, conclude whether Baylor had violated NCAA rules when it failed to report allegations of sexual violence on its campus.
“Baylor admitted to moral and ethical failings in its handling of sexual and interpersonal violence on campus,” the panel said in its decision, “but argued those failings, however egregious, did not constitute violations of NCAA rules.”
“Ultimately, and with tremendous reluctance, this panel agrees.”
The NCAA panel says that while the organization provides resources to support member institutions in carrying out the responsibilities of reporting and addressing sexual violence on campus as required by the U.S. Department of Education, current NCAA rules don’t call for their adjudication of how schools respond to such issues. Still, the panel quotes one former university president as saying Baylor’s handling of sexual violence was a “colossal operational failure.”
Baylor was accused of shielding football student-athletes from disciplinary processes and failed to report allegations of misconduct by football student-athletes.
The panel did find that one student-athlete who had been suspended for plagiarism had been required to submit to an academic performance plan, but later was caught cheating on an in-class quiz. That incident, they say, was not reported to the university president as a failure to live up to that performance plan.
The school also was found to have used a “predominantly female student-host group, the Baylor Bruins” to recruit football student-athletes. While the group eventually allowed membership for men, the panel says it was “geared toward female participants.”
“The gender-based nature of this group is especially concerning in light of the campus-wise cultural issues…as well as the extremely troubling assertions…that the Bruins were ‘kind of at the disposal of football players in a very inappropriate way."”
Among the penalties the NCAA panel will levy are a $5,000 fine, four years of probation, more stringent recruiting restrictions. The school must also vacate all records from contests in which ineligible student-athletes participated.
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