What ethical values, perspectives, or moral perspectives may be involved?
Case Study 6.3: When Football Comes First: Sexual Assault at Baylor University Baylor University has made a name for itself as a major athletic power. Notable achievements of the Waco, Texas, Christian school include national championships in women’s basketball (twice), tennis, equestrian, acrobatics, and tumbling as well as a Big 12 football title. Baylor’s Brittney Griner was named women’s basketball player of the year, and Robert Griffin III won college football’s Heisman Trophy. The recent success of Baylor athletics is all the more notable because of the school’s previous history as a perennial loser, particularly in football. The Bears won only six conference football games in Baylor’s first nine seasons in the Big 12 conference. Said one former player: “Imagine year after year seeing your program just get demoralized, embarrassed. Opposing teams looked at us like, oh, that’s a win. They were lining up to schedule us.”1 When the team began winning, the board of regents chairman told a reporter that he “didn’t think I’d ever live to see something like this.”2 Boosters rewarded the football team’s accomplishments by erecting a $260 million stadium.
Success on the football field hid a much darker reality. An investigation by the Pepper Hamilton law firm revealed that between 2011 and 2016, 17 women on campus said they were victims of sexual and domestic assaults—including gang rapes—by football players. (Baylor officials later said that they were reviewing 125 reports of sexual assault or harassment, some committed by students not on the football team.) According to Pepper Hamilton, the school failed to comply with Title IX requirements designed to prevent sex discrimination in education. The report found the football program “hindered enforcement of rules and policies, and created a cultural perception that football was above the rules.”3 Pepper Hamilton offered 105 recommendations for improvement.
Sexual assault victims received little help from campus authorities. Baylor police often failed to take action or discouraged victims from filing reports. Police officers seemed to blame them for what happened by asking if they were drinking or what they were wearing at the time of the assaults. Others who sought help at the counseling center were put on waiting lists. Victims claim they were denied academic assistance, like receiving extra time to finish assignments or to take exams, which is required by Department of Education regulations.
The university didn’t have the required Title IX coordinator to ensure fair treatment of women until 2014, and even then the coordinator they hired left in frustration a couple of years later, claiming that authorities kept her from doing her work. Assailants continued to take classes so victims would run into their abusers on campus. Such encounters not only brought back the trauma (one freshman said that she fled to the bathroom to throw up the first time she saw her attacker walking a few feet away) but also put the women in further danger.
Athletic officials, administrators, and the Baylor and Waco police departments appeared more interested in protecting the image of the football team than in protecting coeds. When Coach Art Briles learned that a female student-athlete was gang-raped by five players, he responded: “Those are some bad dudes. Why was she around those guys?”4 When one of his players threatened a female student-athlete with a gun, he texted an assistant coach with the message, “What a fool—she reporting to authorities.”5 The athletic director texted Briles that it would be “great” if authorities kept quiet about a player’s death threats. Defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was allowed to transfer to Baylor from Boise State in 2013 after assaulting a woman. While waiting out a year to play, he was convicted of raping a Baylor student and eventually removed from the team. However, the team and the university kept his trial secret and never explained why Ukwuachu was no longer on the roster. He was allowed to complete his degree after he served a short prison sentence. Baylor regents responded to the Pepper Hamilton report by firing Briles and the athletic director and demoting university president Kenneth Starr to faculty status. (He later resigned.)
Baylor launched a number of new initiatives to address sexual violence, including doubling its number of counselors; providing trauma training to staff; setting up an assault hotline; forming task forces to implement the recommendations of the Pepper Hamilton report; working with Baylor police to develop new protocols; hiring additional compliance personnel; and refocusing on the school’s Christian mission. Yet, some on campus were reluctant to acknowledge the extent of the problem. Baylor fans lined up to buy T-shirts with the initials CAB (Coach Art Briles) at one home game. Women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey said she would “smack” anyone who said that Baylor wasn’t a good place to send their daughters. She complained that the school was being unfairly targeted and that the press should shift its attention elsewhere. (Mulkey apologized for her comments the next day.)
The costs of the scandal continue to mount. The Big 12 conference voted to withhold one quarter of Baylor’s shared revenue—$7.5 million annually—until the university can establish that it has implemented better practices for dealing with sexual violence. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools issued a warning to the university that it will closely monitor the school’s compliance with accreditation standards. The state’s top law enforcement agency, the Texas Rangers, is looking into possible criminal charges. The Department of Education is investigating civil rights violations and could withdraw funding. Baylor settled lawsuits with two women but faces additional legal action.
The victims, many of whom dropped out of Baylor, continue to suffer. Said one: “I still think about it every day. It’s taken a lot for me to move on, get a job, have a life.”6 Press reports about the scandal bring back disturbing memories. Victims who did graduate from the school feel betrayed. They welcome the changes being implemented on campus but are skeptical. “It’s something,” said a Baylor education graduate. “But it’s not enough, really. It’s not enough to take away the past.”
DIRECTIONS – 6 pages integrate at least one Biblical principle in the paper, 4 scholarly sources, no plagiarism
As you explore the chosen case, considering areas from our ethical leaders studies such as:
- What ethical values, perspectives, or moral perspectives may be involved?
- What is the true ethical dilemma and why?
- What ethical or unethical behaviors and decision models appear in play?
- Were particular ethical practices helpful or harmful in the situation?
- Did power and influence manifestation effect the condition positively or negatively.
- Were there demonstrations or evidence of ethical, servant, or other particular leadership theories? Were they helpful or harmful?
- Did conflicts or negotiation reveal anything about ethical culture or considerations?
- Were any followership challenges apparent?
- Were any ethical group danger signs apparent?
- Can anything be observed that reveals the ethical culture(s) involved?
- What does scripture and/or worldviews have to say about the case?
Paper should Have
Integration of analysis elements from course studies that explore and address ethical, reasoning, and worldview concepts that are relevant to the case.
Incorporated ethical values, perspectives, or moral perspectives involved
Addressed unethical behaviors
Incorporated leadership theories during analysis
Involved ethical culture awareness in analysis
Included and bridged scriptural perspectives and/or worldviews to give a broad perspective about the case.
That is by no means an exhaustive list but represents some perspectives to consider. You should explore other ethical, reasoning, and worldview concepts that are relevant to the case.
Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the SafeAssign plagiarism tool.