One of main criticisms Baylor faced in the wake of its sexual assault scandal was transparency. From the process in which each case was handled to discovering who knew what, coming clean was always going to be a big part of Baylor's attempt to rehab its image.
In the months following the Pepper Hamilton findings, there have been examples of Baylor continuing to fall short on emphasizing greater transparency.
The most recent came in the late hours of Monday night -- 11:49 p.m. CT, to be exact -- when the university announced that Patty Crawford, the school's first full-time Title IX coordinator, had resigned. A statement from Baylor read as follows ...
"Our understanding is that Patty was disappointed in her role in implementing the recommendations that resulted from the Pepper Hamilton investigation. The University is grateful for Patty's leadership in establishing fair and equitable Title IX processes that are also supportive of the needs of survivors. We will always seek to continuously improve and are confident that the very capable Title IX staff will continue the important work of educating, supporting and responding to the needs of those impacted by interpersonal violence."
There are two issues with the statement, the first being that it's vague as to what Crawford was disappointed with in regards to the recommendations. Was her role not big enough? Too big? Did it involve the recommendations themselves? It's not clear.
Secondly, releasing a statement close to midnight isn't exactly a step in the right direction when it comes to greater transparency. It's one thing to contribute to 5 o'clock news dumps in an effort to minimize attention, but releasing a statement at 11:49 p.m. CT is next-level -- even for Baylor, which history has shown purposely picks the most opportune times for itself to release news.
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The difference is Baylor is now living in a post-Hamilton report world in which the university itself acknowledged it has deep-rooted issues to fix. It's a big deal when the university's Title IX coordinator resigns, especially when the Board of Regents'own Findings of Fact referred to Baylor's implementation and coordination of Title IX as a system of "institutional failures at every level."
This is a full-blown attempt to gloss over something worthy of attention.
However, the delivery of Baylor's news is only one component to the much-needed culture change -- and it's hardly the most important part.
The day of Crawford's resignation, two more women joined a Title IX suit against Baylor. "Jane Doe 7" and "Jane Doe 8" claimed "Baylor failed to adequately investigate their cases." Jane Doe 7 alleges she was raped by two Baylor Students in May of 2009, and Jane Doe 8 says she was assaulted in March, 2015.
The initial suit with Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3 was filed in June.
Additionally, Baylor's coaching staff remains intact save for the dismissal of Art Briles.
According to Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and activist who spoke with Baylor players about sexual assault, at least one member of the coaching staff is still part of the problem. In a Huffington Post piece, Tracy said her interaction with the coach, who remains unnamed, left her to believe her work with the team would be undone ...
However, directly after my talk, a football coaching staff member pulled me aside and in a very disturbing manner began to give me his "opinion." He was obviously very angry and defensive about what was happening. I was shocked by what he was saying. He knew that I had a voice in the media and he was doing nothing but making Baylor look guilty and he was validating for me that the football culture was toxic and that all the claims being made against them and Art Briles were probably true.
I left that man's office feeling defeated. 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.
It's important to note that Tracy felt her time with acting Baylor coach Jim Grobe and the team itself was "good." Per Tracy, the players "were genuinely engaged" with the conversation. However, Tracy's account is noteworthy given the coaching staff was not released like Briles was.
Finally, Baylor let former defensive end Shawn Oakman into the Bears locker room following last month's game at Rice. Oakman was arrested and later indicted for sexually assaulting a woman in April. When asked if that was something he knew about, Grobe said, "I didn't know he was there, or who he is." Even if that's true, other people in Baylor's athletic department surely did.
None of this includes the numerous statements made by former president Ken Starr, most of which continue to deflect blame from what happened. Briles admitted in an ESPN interview that he made mistakes, but wasn't specific.
To be clear, what happened at Baylor is not solely a Baylor problem. Rape culture is prevalent in our society and it's not limited to college athletics. Still, Baylor made a conscious effort to try to get better in the wake of Hamilton's findings by implementing task forces. In the months following the announcement of these efforts, signs still show Baylor has a long way to go towards changing the culture that hurt so many.