Baylor football deserves NCAA death penalty

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

By Jon Abel | Guest Contributor

In the wake of the Penn State child-rape scandal, there were calls for the NCAA to impose the death penalty for only the sixth time in history. Penn State was ultimately punished heavily; their scholarships were limited, their games went un-televised, and Joe Paterno was fired for covering up Jerry Sandusky’s history of sexual assault. However, the death penalty remained unused and Penn State football survived. In the wake of Patty Crawford’s deposition, one thing has been made clear: It is time for the death penalty to come back, and Baylor football deserves to be the sixth recipient.

The Crawford deposition is sickening to read. Unfortunately, I am no stranger to stories of sexual assault and cover-up at Baylor, but what the deposition details is on another level entirely. It reveals not only a consistent pattern of obfuscation by the administration, but a deliberate culture of hostility toward Title IX and those who report sexual assault. It shows beyond question that the administration’s top priority was not the protection and wellbeing of Baylor’s students, but the power and prestige of our football program. Crawford claims administrators dismissed Title IX regulations as “unbiblical” and placed proper handling of assault allegations on the back burner. More than that, administrators may have actively encouraged sexual assault through the Baylor Bruins program. If the report is to be believed, past administrators used students and employees practically as call girls to provide “good times” for football players. This goes beyond mere negligence; this is outright abuse of power.

What the deposition shows is that the failings of Baylor’s administration are a direct product of its emphasis on our football program’s prestige. Football is something of a religion in Texas, and as a native Texan myself, I understand this to an extent. But Baylor should be, above all else, an institution of Christian higher education. Our failure and our deliberate unwillingness to protect the most basic human dignity of our students shows that Baylor has forgotten its purpose. A university that fails to care for its students is a university in name alone.

Matthew 5:29 reads, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you.” The past administration’s emphasis on football above all else has caused Baylor to lose its way entirely – to sacrifice fundamental human rights on the altar of athletic prestige. It is time for us to pluck out our sinful right eye. Baylor’s football program needs to be not only deprioritized, but to be cast off entirely, until such time as we can remember our mission. The NCAA should institute the death penalty and prevent our participation in NCAA events, so that we, as a university, can focus on our true purpose: fostering Christian academic growth and promoting the flourishing of our students.

Jon Abel
University Scholars senior