An April hearing date has been set between Baylor and the NCAA infractions panel as it continues to decide the outcome of the ongoing investigation into the football program, sources tell CBS Sports. The case dates back to the .
At least part of the case centers around former coach Art Briles. At issue is whether Briles played or practiced players who were accused of wrongdoing without going through the school's standard adjudication process for all students.
If not, that could be interpreted as an extra benefit. The NCAA's notice of allegations served in September 2018 contained a lack of institutional control charge against Baylor, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The paper also said Briles was cited with failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
The school never publicly released the notice of allegations. Given precedent in similar cases, the football program faces potential major penalties that could include a loss of scholarships and/or a postseason ban.
After Matt Rhule left for the Carolina Panthers in January, prospective replacements were shown the "general parameters" of the notice of allegations, Sports Illustrated reported last month. Baylor eventually hired LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
Given an April hearing, Baylor could find out its fate before the start of the 2020 season. The infractions panel typically releases its final report 6-8 weeks after the hearing. Baylor then would have the option of appealing any levied sanctions.
A specific hearing date in April was not mentioned. The case has moved slowly. At one point, Baylor was reported to possibly be first up for the new Independent Accountability Resolution Process reserved for high-profile, complex cases. Instead, it was announced last week that Memphis basketball would be the first to go through that process.
The possibility of major penalties for Baylor highlights one of the most frequent criticisms of the NCAA enforcement process. Innocent coaches and players could be punished. The original release of findings by Pepper Hamilton came almost four years ago. Virtually every coach and administrator who would have been involved has either been arrested, fired or departed Baylor.
As the Baylor scandal mushroomed, Briles was fired along with president Kenneth Starr. Former athletic director Ian McCaw resigned.
As Baylor cleaned house, critics have questioned whether the NCAA should even be involved. The NCAA was roundly criticized in 2012 for overreaching in penalties against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The NCAA does not announce hearing dates and could still change its schedule.