BU alumni group renews demand for transparency

(Baylor University photo/file)
By  | 

WACO, Texas (KWTX) The Baylor Line Foundation, the university’s principal alumni group, is renewing its call for transparency after the university’s former athletic director, Ian McCaw, testified during a deposition on June 19 that the sexual assault scandal that engulfed the school’s football program was manufactured by investigators and regents to cover up a larger campus-wide issue, a claim that Baylor called “factually baseless.”

“As alumni, we have a right to know the truth, and should demand nothing less,” an email Tuesday morning from the Baylor Line Foundation to alumni reads.

“It is the position of the Baylor Line Foundation that the university must be held to standards of utmost transparency in this sensitive matter, and that a full accounting of facts and findings must be given directly to the Baylor family, no matter what they may be.”

In what several sources with knowledge of the case said was a damning interview, McCaw talked during the deposition about a “’conspiracy at the highest level at Baylor,” and an “elaborate plan that essentially scapegoated the black football players and the football program for being responsible for what was a decades-long, university-wide sexual assault scandal.”

The organization says McCaw’s deposition was the most noteworthy of several recent developments in “the ongoing investigation into the sexual assault scandal at Baylor.”

“His deposition, now available in full, levies serious new allegations against Baylor’s leadership, processes, and handling of rape cases going back several decades. McCaw says that he left the university because he ‘was disgusted at that point with the regents, the racism (and) the phony finding of fact,’ and “did not want to become part of some Enron cover-up scheme.”

On May 26, 2016, Baylor regents released the 13-page Findings of Fact after a review by the Pepper Hamilton law firm, reassigned Chancellor and President Ken Starr, fired head football coach Art Briles and put Athletic Director Ian McCaw on probation.

Starr later severed ties with the school and McCaw is now athletic director at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

The university has rejected McCaw’s assertions during the deposition that the athletic department generally, and black football players and Briles in particular, were made scapegoats in an effort to cover up a much larger problem.

“As specifically described in our prior legal responses, Mr. McCaw’s unsubstantiated claims of a conspiracy by regents, racism and scapegoating at Baylor are bizarre, blatantly false and nothing more than speculation and gossip of which he has no firsthand knowledge,” the university said in a statement in late June.

Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone and Board of Regents Chairman Joel Allison addressed the issue during a news conference last Friday after regents wrapped up meetings in Waco.

“We’re very confident the facts in those situations have not changed and that the decisions that the board made at the time those facts were released were the right decisions,” Livingstone was quoted as saying by the foundation’s alumni publication The Baylor Line.

“We stand by those decisions as an institution and we also feel very good about the ongoing work that the university has done to implement the recommendations that came out of the work of Pepper Hamilton.”

The email sent Tuesday asks alumni to send their thoughts, saying “We will continue to report the facts, and hope that you join the conversation as we all pursue the truth.”

The Baylor Line Foundation was created as part of a settlement announced in March 2016 between the University and the Baylor Alumni Association.

The settlement agreement included a $2 million payment to the alumni association, in return for which the group waived its rights to a replacement for the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center, which Baylor razed in the summer of 2013 to allow for construction of a pedestrian bridge across the Brazos River, linking the main campus with McLane Stadium.

The agreement also provided for the addition of three members to the Baylor Board of Regents elected by alumni.

Under the agreement the association remained an independent nonprofit entity, but had to change its name.

The Baylor Line Foundation continues to publish the alumni magazine the Baylor Line and is focused focus on fundraising efforts toward student scholarships.