Baylor should know better.

Of all schools, it should know the dangers of going down the dark road of coverups. This is the school where, 13 years ago, basketball coach Dave Bliss tried to cover up NCAA violations he committed by trashing a deceased player who was murdered by a Baylor teammate.

There's a similar dark cloud over Baylor again that only transparency and accountability can truly cleanse, especially at a Christian university. Don't bank on that happening, but it's wishful thinking nonetheless.

A new Outside the Lines report appears to link, for the first time, a potential coverup by the Waco Police Department of sexual assault allegations and other incidents involving Baylor football players. Police shielded some incident reports involving players from the public view. When asked Thursday on SiriusXM whether Baylor and Waco police collaborated in any coverup, Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw replied, "Not to my knowledge."

That's legalese, and it's not exactly a reassuring answer. Here was a better answer from McCaw during the interview: "We are going to learn a lot, even though it could be painful. We need to do better and we will do better."

So show, don't tell.

McCaw's remark "is the right answer but people need to see that backed up in actions," said Kathy Redmond Brown, who was raped by a Nebraska football player in the 1990s and runs the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes. "You worked with your [public relations] staff on those answers. Now prove you mean those things."

What did football coach Art Briles, university president Ken Starr, McCaw and others at Baylor know? When did they know it? What did they do about it?

These are the fundamental questions facing Baylor. This is bigger than football wins and losses.

The questions are especially relevant after the latest OTL report showed that a police report of an assault involving three Baylor players was pulled from the police computer system and placed in a locked office. Who do the Waco police work for, their community or Baylor University?

Baylor still isn't saying whether it will release the report it commissioned with Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton to review the university's past treatment of sexual assault claims. Baylor's board received a preliminary update on findings last week, but the review is not complete.

Pressure is mounting to release the report when it's done. Baylor can again hide behind its status as a private university as reason not to release the report, but it's important to keep in mind that Baylor has a choice. Two years ago, Occidental College -- also a private university -- hired Pepper Hamilton to do a similar view and released the findings.

Of course, there can be an element of "you get what you pay for" when universities hire lawyers for reviews. The Pepper Hamilton report at Occidental College received criticism after it was released. The report said, in part, that a rape survivor group on campus created a polarizing environment that wasn't allowing the university to improve how it handles sexual assault claims. In recent years, some rape survivors have criticized Pepper Hamilton for glossing over accountability for the university.

Accountability is what's needed at Baylor. No one expects a university to bring a bunch of young people onto campus and have no crimes or behavioral issues. What's expected is that adults -- those charged with teaching these young people, setting examples for them and protecting them -- do the right thing and hold the responsible students accountable for their behavior. The more we hear about Baylor and the number of allegations by women that were met with inaction, the clearer it's becoming that did not happen.

The culture in sports today is to buy silence for sexual assaults. For all we know, that silence may be getting bought by Baylor as we speak.

"It's more lucrative to Baylor from a legal standpoint to just take to the bunker," Brown said. "This does nothing to bring about a positive cultural change. If anything, it shows to the players that even though they're taught by their coaches to be accountable and to be respectable and live with integrity, what's modeled for them is anything but that. What they learn is that power can get you places and shield you from that accountability. I speak with players. They watch that. They don't hear the words. They hear the actions, and the actions don't match the words."

The hard questions aren't going away. Speaking purely from an athletic perspective (which is so insignificant to this story, but it's why we're talking about it), you better believe this drip, drip, drip is being used against Briles in recruiting.

In the long run, Baylor would be better served ripping the Band-Aid off. But how much does Baylor even want to know, and whose jobs might it cost?

Starr says he's in favor of transparency, but there's no sign of that at all.

According to the OTL report, Pepper Hamilton hasn't even contacted one woman who alleges she was assaulted twice by a Baylor player and claims Briles and Starr knew of her allegations. The woman claims she didn't press charges because she was about to graduate and didn't think the school would punish the player.

Does Baylor have liability concerns based on what it says? Most likely, yes. On the other hand, attorneys for the victims and the Department of Education -- if it investigates -- could find information anyway. The question is whether Baylor shows its mistakes to the public as a way of building back trust.

Thirteen years ago, McCaw was hired shortly after the disgusting Bliss fiasco with the murdered player.

"I'm going to be focused on moving us forward," McCaw said in 2003. "I'm not going to spend a lot of time worrying about the history and worrying about the past. I'm going to worry about advancing this athletic program as quickly as we possibly can."

Baylor's football team under Briles has progressed quickly. It's long past time for Baylor to take a look back and truly learn from its own past.

The victims deserve nothing less.

Baylor has some tough decisions to make. USATSI