Baylor has refuted a report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram stating the team is considering a self-imposed bowl ban for the 2018 season as the NCAA’s years-long investigation into the program’s Title IX infractions marches on.
Star-Telegram: The NCAA’s investigation as taken a ‘left turn’
According to a report from Mac Engel, sources say the NCAA’s investigation of the athletic department has taken a “left turn,” and the law firm representing the school has advised the school to impose a bowl ban. The school likely faces punishment due to a “Lack of Institutional Control” infraction. “Lack of Institutional Control” is a vague and extremely broad area that can cover nearly anything.
This is a new development that might have been uncovered in a series of interviews, according to Engel:
Sources said the NCAA has recently interviewed former Baylor football coach Art Briles, former Baylor president Ken Starr and former Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw; those interviews could have changed the NCAA’s direction on this case.
Baylor was hoping that the NCAA’s investigation of Title IX infractions — specifically sexual assault and rape claims that date back several years — would be treated much as North Carolina’s academic fraud scandal was. In that case, North Carolina did not receive any penalty because the NCAA could not prove the university created fraudulent classes specifically for the athletes, or that athletes alone benefitted from them.
Baylor’s primary lawyer, Rick Evrard, also represented North Carolina in that case.
Baylor refutes the report that it is considering a ban
Baylor responded to the Star-Telegram’s report with a strong statement:
It is irresponsible to report that Baylor is considering a football bowl ban for the 2018 season when in fact the NCAA investigation into the prior football staff and previous athletics administration remains active and ongoing. Additionally, it is premature to speculate as to what the University’s sanctions will be at this point in time.
The NCAA still faces several issues, including separating infraction or infractions committed by the athletic department from those committed by the school. It will also have to separate the university from former head football coach Art Briles.
Per Engel’s report:
If the NCAA wants to slap a show-cause penalty on Briles, it will likely have to punish the university as well for infractions that were not confined to just the athletic department. That won’t be easy.
Officials from the Baylor athletic department cannot publicly comment on the investigation until it has run its course, which should be in the next 60 days or so.
Baylor went 1-11 last season in its first year under new head coach Matt Rhule. The Bears open the season September 1 against Abilene Christian.
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