By Kalyn Story | Staff Writer
The Big 12 Conference announced Wednesday that its Board of Directors voted unanimously to withhold 25 percent of future revenue distribution payments from Baylor. The decision is due to the outcome of a third-party review of changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters, according to a statement released by the Big 12.
“The Board is unified in establishing a process to verify that proper institutional controls are in place and sustainable,” said University of Oklahoma president and Big 12 Conference Board of Directors chairman David Boren. “Effective immediately, the Conference is withholding 25 percent of Baylor’s share of any future revenue distribution until the proper execution of controls is independently verified. By taking these actions the Board desires to ensure that the changes that were promised are actually made and that systems are in place to avoid future problems. The proportional withholding of revenue distribution payments will be in effect until the Board has determined that Baylor is in compliance with Conference bylaws and regulations as well as all components of Title IX.”
Baylor interim President David Garland released a statement in response expressing his confidence in Baylor’s new leadership and commitment to Title IX.
“Under the University’s new leadership, Baylor has demonstrated a firm commitment to athletics compliance and integrity, increased awareness and prevention of sexual assault, implementation of Title IX best practices and providing comprehensive support services for any student in need of them,” Garland said in his statement.
Garland and Baylor’s athletic department said Baylor had already planned to hire an outside party to review Baylor’s new practices and that they welcome and will cooperate fully with the Big 12’s request of a third-party review.
“We will fully cooperate with the audit because we welcome the chance to display the progress we’ve made towards prevention and response to sexual violence in our campus community. The third-party audit was already planned, so we are supportive of this request to provide these results to the Big 12,” the athletic department said.
The Baylor athletic department said that Big 12 Conference revenue is a significant financial asset for the institution and any reduction of those expected funds would be a setback, but they do not believe the funds will be permanently withheld.
“We are confident in the outcome of the audit, and once completed in the manner we expect to be, the only impact on the department is the timing which we receive these funds,” the athletic department said.
In his statement, Garland said Baylor has taken “unprecedented corrective actions,” including leadership changes in the administration and athletic department, after receiving Pepper Hamilton’s report.
“No other university in the country has responded as aggressively and decisively as Baylor regarding incidents of sexual assaults on its campus,” Garland’s statement read.