On Wednesday, the Big 12 Board of Directors released a strong statement on the ongoing Baylor scandal, saying that it is “gravely and deeply concerned” about the publicly-available information involving the athletics program and the treatment of sexual assault.
Though the statement is the first public call for transparency from the conference, it’s not the first request made of Baylor — a previous request made on May 24, 2016, two days before the university released the Findings of Facts from law firm Pepper Hamilton, has not yet resulted in any information from the school.
Today, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby sent a letter to Baylor University Interim President David Garland once again requesting all documents associated with the investigations of sexual assaults at Baylor. This request is for written materials as well as any information that has been conveyed orally to University leadership or to its Board of Regents including, but not limited to, the unedited written or verbal information from Pepper Hamilton, omitting only the names of any involved students. Internal documents pertinent to the investigation have also been requested.
"All of our member universities consider student safety and security to be paramount among institutional responsibilities," said Bowlsby. "The Big 12 Board of Directors, each member of the Conference and its student-athletes want to convey that our thoughts, concerns and sympathies are with the Baylor survivors and their families."
The Big 12 wants full disclosure so that it can assess the impact on the conference as it attempts to “facilitate fair competition” and ensure compliance with NCAA and conference regulations.
Baylor has already been in contact with the NCAA about potential violations and could suffer consequences for not complying with Title IX regulations. If those violations are significant enough, the conference could evict Baylor from the league by citing a bylaw regarding “lack of institutional control.”
Since possible sanctions the Big 12 can levy in some situations don’t seem to apply, in the opinion of one writer, the conference may have an all-or-nothing decision to make about the scandal.
However, the bylaws indicate that there is some amount of discretion available:
A Supermajority of Disinterested Directors shall, in its sole discretion, empowered to determine whether any Sanctions are appropriate, the type, extent, and conditions to any Sanctions imposed, and impose such Sanctions on a Member depending, in each case, on factors that a Supermajority of Disinterested Directors deems to be relevant, including but not limited to the severity of the harm to the Conference...
The language in the statement regarding the impact on the conference would seem to set the stage for the Board of Directors to punish Baylor with sanctions if it determines that decisions made in Waco harmed the Big 12.