Members of the Baylor University Board of Regents have avoided discussing why they never commissioned, received, nor released a full, detailed written report from outside investigators at Pepper Hamilton on how their institution made life a living hell for women who reported they were raped (especially, although not exclusively, when football players were involved). Instead, regents and other Baylor leaders have shrugged the concern away with little more than, gee golly, we didn’t get one. But one regent has finally given an explanation—doing so would cost money.
Waco-based KWTX said regent Dr. Ron Wilson spent Tuesday at a meeting members of Baylor’s faculty and staff where he, other regents, and interim Baylor President David Garland took questions that had been submitted in advance. Afterward, he told KWTX why nothing was released beyond a 13-page “findings of fact” that included almost no facts.
“Pepper Hamilton is an oral report so the process of writing would take four to six months. Also with the personal nature of the information so much of it would be redacted. Plus, the cost would be a factor,” Wilson said.
This ignores a lot, like how the work Pepper Hamilton already did for Baylor probably wasn’t for free. And whatever added cost a written report would create probably doesn’t compare to the settlements Baylor is paying out to ex-coach Art Briles as well as the women who reported they were gang-raped by football players under Briles’s and the regents’s watch.
As for any concerns about privacy, that’s an issue law enforcement has navigated for decades by leaving out names and identifying details of victims—if Penn freaking State could commission a written report that didn’t expose victims, Baylor can too. It’s also no excuse for not identifying administrators and other officials who enabled the suppression of reports of sexual assault.
Wilson also conveniently leaves out two side effects of Baylor never producing a written report: There’s no document to cite in lawsuits, and the public can’t learn the extensive details of just how little Baylor cared about investigating campus rape.
Sources have confirmed as much to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, which reported in August that “under the advice of legal counsel, Baylor officials wanted to eliminate any sort of paper trail, while controlling what was revealed to the public.” They even went so far, OTL reported, as to tell the regents not to take notes when the report’s findings were presented orally.
With no names, no dates, no accountability, nobody is truly to blame for what happened at Baylor. That’s why former athletic director Ian McCaw was able to land another job with another Christian university, fans can fly CAB banners from luxury suites, and Art Briles himself watches his name float in ongoing coaching searches, each place testing the waters to see if the public is already over it enough to make him hirable again. Even Ken Starr (yes, that Ken Starr) is still in the public eye, working on a book about what happened. And Baylor still has the same regents.
It’s almost like nothing has changed, minus whatever Baylor can spin in a press release. Maybe nothing has.