Culture

Lawsuit Alleges 52 Acts of Rape by Baylor Football Players in Four Years

On Friday, a former Baylor student filed a lawsuit against Baylor University, alleging negligence on the part of the school and violations of Title IX. The lawsuit included explosive allegations that the crisis was far more extensive than previously reported. Among the allegations are that up to 31 football players committed up to 52 sexual assaults from 2011-2014, including several gang rapes.

The anonymous female student alleges in the lawsuit that she was gang raped by two football players after a party in 2013. One of the players who allegedly raped the complainant was implicated in a previous sexual assault on a female student athletic trainer. According to the suit, the school failed to investigate, instead moving the trainer to a female sports team and paying for her education, in return for a gag order.

This is one of five gang rapes listed in the lawsuit during the same time period. The suit alleges that at least two of the gang rapes involved more than ten football players.

Baylor, a Baptist institution that prides itself on a high moral standard of conduct for its students, has been scandalized for several years over the depths of the sexual assault crisis that spans the years under head football coach Art Briles.

Perhaps the most disturbing passage of the lawsuit concerns Briles’ son, assistant coach Kendal Briles:

The lawsuit describes a culture of sexual violence under former Baylor football coach Art Briles in which the school implemented a “show ’em a good time” policy that “used sex to sell” the football program to recruits. That included escorting underage recruits to strip clubs and arranging women to have sex with prospective players, the suit alleges.

Former assistant coach Kendal Briles — the son of the head coach — once told a Dallas-area student athlete, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players,” according to the suit.

The fallout of this continued crisis has included the firing of Briles and the resignation of the campus Title IX coordinator charged with investigating these violations. The crisis first gained attention after Briles recruited and signed Samuel Ukwuachu, a supremely talented defensive end who was previously kicked off the Boise State team for domestic violence. Briles was fired after it was revealed that he lied about knowing of Ukwuachu’s criminal history. A culture of cover-up has continued to permeate the ongoing crisis at Baylor.

This new lawsuit comes at a sensitive time for Baylor, which has spent the better part of a year playing offense against accusers and attempting unsuccessfully to move on without serious sanctions to its football team. The Title IX coordinator that resigned said that she felt set up to fail by the administration, and was retaliated against for continuing to investigate these crimes—a requirement under Title IX for any institution that receives federal funding. Meanwhile, it has become clear that Baylor has repeatedly attempted to buy the silence of the victims in order to save what’s left of their reputation.

The anonymous accuser states in her lawsuit that she enrolled at Baylor “primarily because of its strong emphasis on developing Christian faith and learning as well as its dedication to serving those in need.” The lawsuit points out the lengths to which the school would go to turn around its moribund football team:

BAYLOR FOOTBALL UNDER ART BRILES
11. Prior to the arrival of coach Charles Arthur “Art” Briles (“Briles”) in 2008,
BAYLOR football was comparatively one of the worst, if not the worst, team in the Big 12 Southern Conference. It finished in last place in 13 of 14 consecutive seasons.
12.Hired in 2008, Briles was brought to BAYLOR specifically to fix the problem.Upon hiring, Brilesdeclared, “What we have to do is win football games. That’s our mission.”
13.At the expense of many young women on campus, BAYLOR football soon did  just that.
14.Briles’ efforts to rebuild BAYLOR football centered on recruiting his own athletes from Texas and around the nation to come to Waco and help accomplish his mission.
15.BAYLOR was an overnight success under Briles. Within a few short years, his recruits became one of the most feared group of football players in the nation, dominating the Big 12 Southern Conference and becoming a national title contender. Over the span of four seasons from 2011-2014, Briles’ recruits would win an unprecedented 42 football games. After fifteen years of finishing at or near the bottom of their football conference standings, BAYLOR was quickly on top of the Big 12 Conference.
16. In response, alumni donations were on the rise and BAYLOR made plans to build a new $266 million football stadium.
17. As a result of this sudden success, BAYLOR football players themselves became larger-than-life celebrities on campus as BAYLOR football mania consumed the campus to a degree not seen in decades. Then-BAYLOR President and Chancellor Kenneth Starr, who regularly led the football team out on the field, proclaimed that BAYLOR was entering its “Golden Era.”
The bottom line, as stated in the lawsuit: “BAYLOR football under Briles had run wild, in more ways than one, and BAYLOR was doing nothing to stop it.”
The details of the recruiting program are stunning:
22. Central to their recruiting efforts, BAYLOR football coaching staff implemented a “Show em a good time” policy which permitted members of the BAYLOR football team to engage in unrestricted behavior with no consequences including but not limited to:
a. Players arranging for women, alcohol and illegal drugs for parties when recruits were in town;
b. Paying for and escorting underage recruits to bars and strip clubs; and
c. Paying for off-campus football parties (which repeatedly resulted in gang rape of women by the athletes).
23. Not only were BAYLOR’s football coaching staff instrumental in actively implementing these recruiting policies and practices, they also encouraged them. Assistant Coach Kendall Briles, while recruiting one Dallas area high school athlete stated, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at BAYLOR and they LOVE football players.”
24. BAYLOR football coaching staff also arranged for women to have sex with recruits on their official campus visits. On one such occasion, a BAYLOR football player stated that BAYLOR coaches sent two women from the BAYLOR Bruins program to his hotel room and the room of another recruit to engage in sex with the two men.
It is noteworthy that this behavior continued in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky crimes that destroyed the football program at Penn State. In 2012, Jerry Sandusky, former defensive coordinator under legendary coach Joe Paterno, was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse, many of which occurred on campus and in the locker rooms of the football team. It was later revealed that many of the administrators and coaches, including Paterno himself, knew of the abuse for many years, and opted to protect the program over responding to the abuse of children.
Baylor has repeated this pattern of putting the football program ahead of the needs of victims and future victims.