Good evening, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) sports fans.
@TalkinACCSports (Jeffrey Fann) and I will blog a lot this weekend about the ACC, but until then, we need to keep you up-to-date on Baylor and their football program. Why? Well, because this is a massive problem for the NCAA and the College Football Playoff Committee.
Back in May 2016, I wrote about the unfathomable lack of institutional control at Baylor University that because permitted a hostile environment fostered by the university against its own students who filed sexual assault complaints. Yes, you got that right – Baylor retaliated against its own students who filed sexual assault complaints with the university. Since then, head football coach, Art Briles, was fired – and University President, Ken Starr, resigned his post.
Now comes the news that Baylor’s Title IX Coordinator, Patty Crawford, has resigned. According to a Baylor University statement,
… Title IX coordinator Patty Crawford was “disappointed in her role in implementing the recommendations” of an independent investigation into the school’s handling of sexual assault allegations.
Crawford, however, had a much different message on CBS News This Morning this past Wednesday:
Patty Crawford, who resigned Monday as Baylor University’s first full-time Title IX coordinator, said on national television Wednesday that the school “set (her) up to fail” when she started the job in November 2014.
In the interview Wednesday on “CBS This Morning,” Crawford also said upper-level administrators interfered with her ability to do her job, a point her lawyer later repeated in a phone interview with the Tribune-Herald.
“The harder I worked, the more resistance I received from senior leadership,” Crawford said.
She said reports to Baylor’s Title IX office under her guidance increased sevenfold, and senior administrators did not like that and said it was bad for the school.
Crawford has filed a Title IX complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
“The allegations are that I never had the authority, resources or the independence to do the job appropriately, which the Department of Education writes in its guidance for Title IX coordinators and universities,” she said.
Crawford said earlier in the day she thinks Baylor still fails victims of sexual assault.
Crawford’s attorney, Rogge Dunn, said Baylor broke Texas law by commenting on a Monday mediation that preceded Crawford’s resignation. In a Tuesday evening statement, Baylor said Crawford demanded $1 million and book and movie rights.
Other media reports citing unnamed sources said Baylor offered a $1.5 million settlement, plus $50,000 for a confidentiality agreement, and Crawford countered with $2 million, which Baylor refused.
Dunn, who accompanied Crawford to her “CBS This Morning” interview in New York, called Baylor’s allegations that she pursued the million dollars plus the book and movie rights “a desperate attempt to smear Patty.”
“What they’ve done is violated Texas law,” Dunn said. “Believe me, there’s nothing I would rather tell you than what went on in that mediation, because it’s in favor of Patty. But the law says you can’t do that. We choose to follow the law, unlike Baylor University.”
Speaking with the Tribune-Herald by phone later Wednesday, Dunn said he is “looking into” suing Baylor.
But Baylor spokeswoman Tonya Lewis said Wednesday that Baylor’s Tuesday statement did not violate any law because Crawford made the demands in advance of the mediation.
When asked to whom Crawford made those demands, Lewis said she will ask whether she is able to disclose that.
“I’m not certain if the university wants to disclose information, as far as whom people talk to,” she said. “So I think they’ve given you a lot of good information, as far as what we’re legally able to say.”
Suzanne Duvall, a Dallas lawyer and past president of the Association of Attorney-Mediators, said parties in such situations should always err on the side of confidentiality, which she calls the hallmark of mediation.
“Whether it be a private mediation or a court-ordered mediation, confidentiality is confidentiality is confidentiality. . . . That means before, during and after the mediation process,” she said.
“That’s why it works,” said Duvall, who is also past president of the Alternative Dispute Resolution section of the State Bar of Texas. “It’s a safe environment, and people can discuss their issues, work them out and not have them come back to haunt them. I had no idea what happened in that mediation, but most people entering in an agreement to mediate agree to confidentiality.
“Demands made prior to the mediation and later incorporated by way of a demand in the mediation are nevertheless confidential.”
Dunn declined comment when asked if a confidentiality agreement was signed before mediation and if a settlement was ultimately reached.
“The issue is, I was trying to continue to create compliance with Title IX and I was trying to be hopeful that the university was going to listen, and the more I asked and the more I tried, the more resistance I received, and I was being retaliated against for fighting discrimination,” she said.
So, basically, you have Title IX coordinator that was retaliated against by Baylor University senior leadership (who also tried to publicly smear Crawford as she was trying to reach a settlement upon her departure). That’s very Goodfellas (Mafia-like) of Baylor.
However, as Pat Forde from Yahoo Sports says, there’s still a major culture problem with the football program:
Last Friday, visiting speaker Brenda Tracy, an alleged rape survivor at Oregon State in 1998 who has spoken at multiple college campuses, wrote about her experience with the football team at Baylor in July. She lauded interim coach Jim Grobe for inviting her to speak, and lauded the players for their attentiveness during her talk. But she also mentioned being pulled into an office afterward by an angry assistant coach.
“I left that man’s office feeling defeated,” Tracy wrote on The Huffington Post. “If he was any indication of how the rest of the staff felt, then the talk I just gave to the football team was useless. He was going to undo any good that I had done.”
And, yes, there is a major problem still here – yes, Jim Brobe, was hired as the Baylor acting head football coach – but all of the assistant coaches under Briles are still working, paid, and employed at Baylor University. How do you change the toxic culture that permitted that environment for women? Fire all of those assistant coaches now.
So, now the Big 12, the NCAA, and the College Football Playoff have a big problem. You see, Baylor is winning right now – and is in the weak Big 12 (Baylor, FWIW, has a very bad non-conference schedule – and always does). The Big 12 is the most likely Power 5 to be left out of the College Football Playoff. However, those scenarios exist where teams above Baylor in the rankings, like Nebraska, Miami, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Houston, Washington, one of Michigan or Ohio State could lose – and Baylor finds itself moving up in the rankings. Will it be enough to be in the top four – and be in the College Football Playoff? Again, I say no because the Big 12 is weak – and Baylor never plays anyone.
However, my buddy, @TalkinACCSports, wrote this post last year – along with some help from me – such that if you play in a Power 5 and win all your games, your team is generally going to be in the College Football Playoff.
And herein lies the problem. There is no way a school, whose administration actively sandbagged Title IX complaints, retaliated against Title IX complainants, and retaliated against its Title IX administrator, should have the opportunity to participate in the College Football Playoff – this can never happen. Ever. This opportunity can’t happen on Earth.