Baylor University is a private Baptist university in Waco, TX. Since 1845, it is the oldest university in the state. The Baylor Bears have 19 intercollegiate sports as a part of the Big 12 Conference in Division I. Their motto is “For Church, For Texas, For Future”. It should actually read “For Sports, For Wins, For Money”. The university has fostered a culture of negligence that has been unprecedented in recent years.
In the summer of 2003, Patrick Dennehy went missing. His roommate and fellow basketball teammate Carlton Dotson didn’t even know where he was. On June 25th, Dennehy’s Tahoe was found at a shopping mall in Virginia Beach, Virginia but he was not inside of it. Carlton Dotson was back home in Hurlock, Maryland. Finally on July 25th, Dennehy’s body was found in a gravel pit outside of Waco. Dotson claimed he shot Dennehy by accident when the two were playing with guns. This is hard to believe when the autopsy showed two gunshots to the head. How could a fellow athlete murder another and leave his body to rot in a gravel pit? Dotson’s own family member alerted a coach about his mental stability, but to no avail. The real injustice was head coach Dave Bliss encouraging other players to tell stories about Dennehy being a drug dealer. This was to cover up the illegal payments Dennehy was receiving. There is a saying in the SEC (South Eastern Conference), “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying”. However, you do not, in no uncertain terms use it to cover up murder. The Baylor basketball program lost five scholarships over two seasons and were put on probation for five years.
In 2012, safety Ahmad Dixon was accused of assault by a woman who later refused to cooperate with police. He was never disciplined and went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys. Also in 2012, cornerback Tyler Stephenson picked up and threw his girlfriend against the exterior wall of an apartment building. An arrest warrant was prepared by police, but the case was closed when they were supposedly unable to contact the victim. Still in 2012, Tevin Elliot was indicted on rape charges by two out of six women. That’s when he was finally dismissed from the university. What took so long? He was an outstanding defensive player. Baylor was among the top 10 schools in football now. Several of Elliot’s victims alerted the university’s authorities but nothing was done. It was a “he said, she said” matter. Some even had the audacity to say the incidents happened off campus so there was nothing they could do. Clearly the local Waco police were a part of the cover up. In 2014, Elliot was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Devin Chafins was twice accused in 2014 of assaulting his girlfriend by slamming her arm into a car door and also picking her up slamming her to the ground. She said she notified the Baylor football team chaplain of the assaults, who funneled the allegations up to head coach Art Briles, and Ken Starr, the president. But she says she didn’t press charges because she figured nothing would happen anyway. Also that year, Sam Ukwuachu was indicted on sexually assaulting a member of the Baylor soccer team. Ukwuachu was also a defensive football player and former transfer from Boise State, like Elliot. This wasn’t his first violent attack. It happened at Boise State, which is why he was kicked off the team. Baylor knew about his past but allowed him to remain on scholarship and earn his degree. He was dismissed from the team in August of 2015 when he was sentenced to six months in prison and ten years’ probation for rape. In April of this year, Shawn Oakman was arrested and charged with sexual assault from an incident that happened two weeks prior. He was kicked off Penn State’s team because he assaulted a female clerk who caught him stealing. He was also accused of domestic violence in 2013 by his girlfriend. Oakman graduated from Baylor and is awaiting a grand jury. He would have been drafted by the NFL if it wasn’t for the allegations.
The football coach Art Briles, the athletic director Ian McGraw, the athletics director for football operations Collin Shillinglaw, and longtime staffer Tom Hill are all gone. The president Ken Star was moved to chancellor. Anyone that was part of the cover up or knew should be gone as well, not just reassigned. In 2011, the nation was rocked with the molestation scandal going on at Penn State University. Longtime head coach Joe Paterno (winningest coach in Division 1 football) allowed former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky to ruin his coaching career, the football program, and the university. Sandusky sexually abused teenaged boys in the locker room for decades while the university turned a blind eye. One would think that the severe penalty meted out to the program was a wakeup call for all colleges and universities. The message was clear – not doing anything was the equivalent of being an active participant. No longer could a coach or a person of authority say, “I didn’t know.” Ignorance was no longer an excuse. Apparently Baylor didn’t get that email or correspondence because they were too busy reciting their school motto.