MURRELL COLUMN: Baylor’s true identity will be revealed from within

Published 1:28 pm Thursday, April 14, 2016

Good job, Baylor.

Somehow, some way, you allowed (the lack of reporting of alleged) sexual abuse by football players become a distraction this spring. Somehow, we’re back to square one in just addressing this serious crime.

And the scope is on you, Baylor.

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Now, I’m not accusing you of not reporting sexual abuse to authorities in a timely manner. Someone else has already done that.

But I, like millions of others, have to read about this. And we’re reminded again — as if we really need to be — how less important football or any sport is in the scheme of everyone’s personal safety.

Then again, because of football, the scrutiny of your handling or mishandling of sexual abuse allegations is that much more magnified.

At what point do you finally take the bull by the horns and increase efforts to protect the safety of every Baylor student? Is it after one of your former students, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald, files a Title IX lawsuit against you, your head football coach and athletic director after she was twice sexually assaulted by a former Baylor player, alleging you knew of previous allegations against the guy and didn’t take steps to protect other students?

On top of that, the player, defensive end Tevin Elliott, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $10,000, too?

No comment, Baylor? I get it. Gotta protect your defense. The law provides for that.

But it doesn’t provide for inadequately protecting everyone that walks your halls.

But you or coach Art Briles is going to have to do better in explaining what then-Boise State coach Chris Petersen told you about Sam Ukwuachu and his misdeeds that got him booted from that team before you gave him a chance to add to this needless epidemic of putting someone in danger.

Must I remind you: A jury convicted the man of sexual assault before the season, only to recommend 10 years’ probation and county jail for 180 days. (Credit again goes to the Tribune-Herald.)

Better yet, did you not learn anything from the Patrick Dennehy murder in 2003? Like, how not to hide even the threat of violent crimes?

We’re talking about life, here, are we not? I still can’t get over that scandal. Not sure how or if you got over it? It occurred on your campus.

Did you not learn anything from the fall of Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky in 2011? Like, report every sexual assault report (involving anyone of any age), whether or not a police investigation is under way? Tell me, Baylor, did you really take 2½ years to report such an allegation — I stress, allegation — against Port Arthur’s Tre’von Armstead and fellow football teammate Myke Chatman?

No, Baylor, I’m not accusing you of anything. You’re already accused. We do want answers.

As cases of sexual abuse by anyone connected to you, let alone football players, pile up and public scrutiny increases, soon your true identity will be revealed. That goes for your football coach and the athletic director, too.

Are you a school that takes care of athletes first? Are you just hiding behind your Baptist background? Do you have a plan to prevent further sex crimes? Did you even have a plan in the first place?

It’s bad enough we’re mourning the senseless death of a dance student down the road in Austin. But right now, the eyes of Texas — the whole state, that is — are upon you.

Right now, you, Baylor, aren’t looking good.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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