Big 12 Votes To Withhold 25% Of Revenue Payments To Baylor Until Issues Cleared Up
The Big 12 BOD has "voted unanimously" to withhold 25% of future revenue distribution payments to Baylor, "pending the outcome of a third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its athletics programs," according to a front-page piece by John Werner of the WACO TRIBUNE-HERALD. Big 12 revenue distributions will be "announced in early June at the conference’s spring meetings, but each school is expected to receive" more than $30M. A Baylor athletics official said that about $10M already has been "distributed to each school, leaving Baylor’s remaining quarterly share that could be withheld" by the Big 12 at about $5.5M. Big 12 revenue distribution "makes up less than a third of Baylor’s annual athletic department budget," which is expected to exceed $100M. Baylor would "have the opportunity to recoup any withheld revenue if it satisfies the Big 12 board members at the conclusion of the review." Werner notes Baylor was "not included" in the Big 12 BOD vote. Baylor interim President David Garland said that he "welcomes the Big 12's actions" (WACO TRIBUNE-HERALD, 2/9). In Dallas, Ben Baby notes the ruling "comes on the heels of new Baylor strength and conditioning coach Brandon Washington's arrest on Feb. 4 on a solicitation of prostitution charge." Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that the BOD "felt it had been 'well informed' on events at Baylor, but new information that surfaced last week -- including court filings -- 'created a tipping point'" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/9).
NEED FOR CLARITY: The actions against Baylor were the "first by the Big 12 since the university was hit by a wave of complaints that it mishandled or tried to cover up assault allegations, many of them involving football players" (AP, 2/8). Bowlsby said that the Big 12's bylaws "could have allowed Baylor to be fined now or still in the future." He added that the BOD "intentionally did not place a timeline on how long it will take for a third party to audit" the school. Bowlsby: "We hope to do it as efficiently as possible, but also realize the NCAA and the (Office for Civil Rights) processes may take a longer time" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/8). USA TODAY's Dan Wolken notes the money withheld from Baylor "will be placed into escrow and eventually returned." The Big 12 has "pushed for increased transparency from Baylor officials, who have only released a summary of the Pepper Hamilton report" (USA TODAY, 2/9).
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS: In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel writes under the header, "Big 12 Penalty On Baylor Is Pointless." Engel: "The only way to penalize Baylor is to strip scholarships, reduce the number of recruiting visits from the coaches, and to keep the cash. That's on the NCAA" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/9). In Austin, Kirk Bohls writes the Big 12 "finally woke up" with its vote on Baylor. It has been a "long, restless slumber for the conference, which still has come off as powerless and practically disinterested when it comes to the sordid saga of sexual assault" at Baylor. However, what the Big 12 did "smacks of more lip service than tough love, simple grandstanding to make it appear that the league is strongly concerned and going through the motions of sounding tough." The conference does "not have an investigative arm and seems to be awaiting the NCAA’s next move on Baylor." Bohls: "Give the punishment more teeth. Tell Baylor no more. Put expulsion from the league on the table. Now. Shape up or ship out and hope the Mountain West Conference takes you in" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 2/9).
POLICE STATE: In Orlando, Mike Bianchi writes under the header, "College Town Cops Are Part Of The Problem At Baylor, Other Football Factories." Bianchi: "If you want to stop the raping and pillaging by football players at Baylor and other campuses across the country then let’s start by cleaning up college town police departments that too often are more interested in protecting the team’s brand than protecting the team’s victims." It is "sad when a few jock-sniffing cops give a bad name to all of the ethical, hard-working policemen who risk their lives every day" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/9).