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Baylor: Lack of Institutional Control

No, not the NCAA kind. It's losing sight of some of the University's core values.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The media firestorm over Baylor's handling Boise State transfer Sam Ukwuachu's eventual criminal conviction for sexual assault continues.

It's a serious issue that demands a serious discussion.

The last couple of days have seen Florida officials comment that Boise State informed them of the reasons Ukwuachu was kicked off the Broncos squad, and that they declined to pursue his transfer.

Then Boise State released a statement clarifying that Ukwuachu's dismissal was unrelated to any allegations of physical abuse.

That has led to twitter wars over who wins the "What Did He Know and When Did He Know It," aspect of this entire mess.

The Boise State clarification says Ukwuachu wasn't dismissed because of sexual assault and because of federal privacy laws, they can't tell you why he was dismissed. Apparently it was about his mental state, (failed drug tests, thoughts of suicide, etc). Ukwuachu had at least 20 drug tests while at Boise State. In April and May of 2013 he talked of suicide and acted violently enough (punching out a window)  his roommate called the police. That's when he talks of transferring and Boise kicks him off the team.

Now you may believe that Petersen filled Florida in on all of this, and didn't tell Baylor about it. Petersen says he did. All Briles said on Friday was that all he was told was that Ukwuachu was "depressed and had a rocky relationship with his girlfriend," which is a nice way of saying Petersen told him what he told Florida.

But really I don't care about that. Even if Petersen didn't give him full details, Briles understood that Ukwuachu was a troubled individual. It is what happened after he got on campus that is reprehensible. Ukwuachu is accused of attacking an 18-year old female just 2 months into the school year. The Waco police essentially do nothing. Eventually the DA is the one to bring charges.

This is where Title IX and the Clery Act become part of any University's response to an assault.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual battery, sexual assault, and rape that are "so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively bars the victim's access to an educational opportunity or benefit." Reducing sexual assaults on campus became a priority earlier this decade for the Department of Education.

In 1990 the Clery Act, (named after a victim of sexual violence on campus) was passed. It requires all colleges and universities who receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety as well as inform the public of crime in or around campus. It also sets up policies and procedures for handling the reporting of such incidents, as well providing support for the victims of such assaults.

According to Title IX and the Clery Act the attack (reported by the victim to authorities -- including taking a rape kit examination), has to be on the record.

The institution's police department or security departments are required to maintain a public log of all crimes reported to them, or those of which they are made aware. The log is required to have the most recent 60 days' worth of information. Each entry in the log must contain the nature, date, time and general location of each crime and disposition of the complaint, if known. Information in the log older than 60 days must be made available within two business days. Crime logs must be kept for seven years, three years following the publication of the last annual security report.

Campus authorities are required to make a thorough investigation of any report, even if the police are not looking into it. Which is why there was an "investigation." The Clery Act states that the burden of proof for the University is supposed to be lower that the criminal "beyond a reasonable doubt." With that, Baylor's investigation into the matter is a joke. They didn't even bother to go through the steps of acquiring the medical and physical evidence that had been gathered by Waco authorities (which eventually led to an indictment).

Institutional failures, grievous failures to perform due diligence. 

As for responding to the victims's needs:

REQUIREMENT: Under Title IX and the Clery Act, institutions must provide specific information, options, and resources to survivors in cases of sexual violence. Institutions must have a prompt and equitable process for resolving complaints.

The attack occurred in October of 2013. The Waco Police were notified by the Hospital that night when the victim came in.

March 2014. Waco police turn the investigation over to the DA.  June 25, 2014, Ukwuachu is indicted by a Grand Jury on two counts of sexual assault on a female athlete.

Nine months have passed since the attack. Sam Ukwuachu is still on scholarship. During this time the victim was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. When she sought to avoid Ukwuachu on campus, the school didn't move him out of the classes or tutoring sessions the two shared—instead, she had to adjust her schedule. Eventually, her soccer scholarship was reduced, and she transferred to another university after the 2013-14 school year.

Baylor failed the victim miserably during this time.  So what does Briles have to do with the institutional mistakes?

It was perfectly clear to everyone that Ukwuachu was an asset that Briles wanted on the field. Any information about the charge, investigation and indictment of Ukwuahu was kept under wraps as long as possible. He didn't practice but he participated in team and position meetings as well as off-season workouts. His DC stated publicly as late as June that they were expecting him to be a contributor to the team this year.

POLICIES: Institutions should have policies that are in compliance with both Title IX and Clery. For example, policies should address possible accomodations and interim measures the institution can implement to help ensure the safety of someone reporting and have disciplinary procedures that ensure a prompt, fair, and impartial process.

Ukwuachu stays on scholarship, graduates, and would have been back on the team if his highly connected (and expensive) lawyer had won the case.

Meanwhile the victim is told that if she doesn't like being in the same class with her attacker, she can move. She has her soccer scholarship reduced, and she eventually leaves school.

The cancer is system wide at Baylor, and they no doubt will have to answer some tough questions from the Department of Education about their handling of the case. But Briles does not - nor should he - skate away from this mess.

We talk a lot about the culture of a program, and to believe that Briles and the Baylor football program doesn't understand it's place in creating the atmosphere that lets an accused rapist stay on scholarship in the hopes that he can eventually get on the field while his victim is treated as if she is the problem, is naive at best.