The Baylor Bears did not violate rules in the minds of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions. That was the news coming down yesterday from multiple outlets, including CBS Sports, after an investigation into a failure to report sexual and interpersonal violence allegations on the university’s campus. However, the NCAA did hit the Bears with other violations, including impermissible benefits and recruiting violations between 2011 and 2016.
“Baylor admitted to moral and ethical failings in its handling of sexual and interpersonal violence on campus but argued those failings, however egregious, did not constitute violations of NCAA rules. Ultimately, and with tremendous reluctance, this panel agrees,” the committee noted in its decision. “To arrive at a different outcome would require the [committee] to ignore the rules the Association’s membership has adopted — rules under which the [committee] is required to adjudicate. Such an outcome would be antithetical to the integrity of the infractions process.”
The NCAA’s punishment against Baylor include, per CBS Sports:
- Four years of probation.
- A $5,000 fine.
- A reduction to 30 football official visits during the 2021-22 academic year.
- A three-week ban on unofficial visits in football during the 2021-22 academic year.
- A two-week ban on football recruiting communication during the 2021-22 academic year.
- A reduction of football evaluation days by three during fall 2021 and by 10 during spring 2022.
- A five-year show-cause order for the former assistant director of football operations. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.
- A vacation of all records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible. The university must provide a written report containing the contests impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 14 days of the public release of the decision.
As Sports Illustrated puts it, the punishments effectively amount to a “slap on the wrist.”
It worked out that way because the NCAA – for all its layers of rules on the books – didn’t, in fact, have a bylaw that fit within the realm of crimes committed during then-Baylor head coach Art Briles’ tenure.
And speaking of Briles, who pretty much gets a new lease on life, his attorney Scott Tompsett released a statement on behalf of his client yesterday following the ruling.
“My client Art Briles has been completely exonerated and cleared of all NCAA violations alleged against him,” the statement read. “As the NCAA Committee on Infractions explained, the conduct at issue was pervasive and widespread throughout the Baylor campus, and it was ignored or condoned by the highest levels of Baylor’s leadership. The NCAA’s decision today clears the way for Mr. Briles to return to coaching college football.”
Statement from Art Briles’ attorney, Scott Tompsett. He says The NCAA decision “clears the way for Mr. Briles to return to coaching college football.” pic.twitter.com/1aNtuCxRhe— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 11, 2021
What a calamitous return it will be, folks.
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