Let's cut to the chase. Within the horror and evil revealed in the latest lawsuit involving Baylor University and its disgraced football program is a hard truth: It's time for the immediate and permanent dismantling of Baylor football.
Banish it from existence.
I waited through the weekend to write this, not so much to guard against hot-take-ism -- that has become a false construct for opinions with which anyone disagrees -- but rather to be sure. The horror I felt reading the latest allegations surrounding Baylor football, and what it seemed should come next, were too ugly to rush. I needed time.
Because to remove forever a program like Baylor football is a jarring, searing move -- one with financial, practical and other real-life consequences.
But I can't get past the jarring, searing facts in the latest lawsuit that show just what Baylor football unleashed on its campus and the unfortunate coeds whose lives are permanently damaged. All because an institution meant to teach, nurture and protect them allowed football to be valued over human decency and dignity.
Again and again and again.
The details, as reported by the Waco Tribune:
According to the suit, the football team had a system of hazing freshman recruits by having them bring freshman females to parties to be drugged and gang-raped, "or in the words of the football players, 'trains' would be run on the girls."
Considered a bonding experience by the players, according to the suit, the rapes also were photographed and videotaped, and the plaintiff confirmed that at least one 21-second videotape of two Baylor students being gang-raped by football players had circulated.
Enough is enough. This school does not deserve football. The Big 12 should abhor Baylor as a football member. And the NCAA should recoil from this warped manifestation of the sports-above-all-wink-wink culture that pervades college athletics and that, according to these allegations, found its most depraved form.
It's up to Baylor to self-impose the end of its football program. It sounds impossible to hope a university actually would value important things over sports when those sports become horror shows, but this school is specifically poised to do right -- be bold and brave in the face of what would be a vastly unpopular move.
Baylor is a Baptist university with a deeply felt -- and, one hopes, deeply lived -- Christian worldview. To ask what Christ would do is more than appropriate given the mission of this school, how its faith permeates its culture and how that Christian approach permeates the recruitment of athletes -- the promise to parents that God will be present in the athletic department and the very nature of how things work at the university. Coaches, for example, are strongly discouraged from swearing.
In that orthodox climate -- I write this as a person of faith -- please value morality over money, goodness over glory, faith over football.
It would be the correct thing to do anywhere. But at Baylor -- or Notre Dame, or BYU, or any other institution that sees God in its cause and mission -- it should also be front and center in decisiveness of action.
And at Notre Dame, among other places, such accusations have resulted in coverups, denials and suicides of alleged victims. Some BYU students claim the honor code unfairly targets victims of sexual assault. But no examples reach the institutional depth and rot that has infected Baylor.
Evil happens, and for whatever reason, it has found its own warped Petri dish in Baylor football. Punishment should follow.
If SMU could have its program nearly destroyed for violating NCAA rules -- a "death penalty" from which it still has not fully recovered -- then Baylor can willingly say goodbye to a football team that created a rape culture.
You release every student from their obligations but allow them to retain their scholarships if they want to stay. You help the coaching staff find new jobs and pay them until they do. You weather raging boosters who revolt and direct their money to meaningful causes. You have the courage of your convictions.
Few will agree. Colleagues of mine, some who went to Baylor, have been in full-throated denial/football-first mode since this story first broke. Ignore them. They are focused on football rather than faith, on sports rather than human dignity.
Step up, Baylor. Make a brutally difficult and unpopular moral statement, one worthy of your faith.
End your football program. Move on. Tell the world, and yourself, and those victims, that if no one else will bring a reckoning to such evil, then you'll do it yourself.