Baylor University “scapegoated” its football program, and more specifically black football players, in what was a campus-wide sexual assault scandal and cover-up, according to the school’s former athletic director.
In a deposition taken June 19, Ian McCaw accuses Baylor of orchestrating a “massive obstruction to conceal ... a conspiracy at the highest level.” McCaw’s testimony alleged that the school “scrubbed” efforts at transparency because it would’ve been “bad for business.”
“Instead ‘intentional’ efforts by regents ‘deflect[ed] attention away from their own failures and the other failures across campus,’ [and] regents ‘changed the centerpiece of the story,’” a court document reads.
McCaw said he left Baylor because he was “disgusted at that point with the regents, the racism, the phony finding of fact” and because he “did not want to be part of some Enron cover- up scheme,” according to the document.
The university released a statement early Wednesday in response to the court filing:
“The plaintiffs’ counsel have grossly mischaracterized facts to promote a misleading narrative in an effort to deflect attention away from the actual facts of the case pending before the court. Baylor has complied and will continue to comply with all court rules in this case. We will maintain our diligent efforts to keep discovery focused on this specific case while steadfastly protecting the privacy of our students and their records that are uninvolved in this matter. As permitted by the court’s rules, Baylor will be filing a written response to the Plaintiffs’ motion. Much of the testimony of Mr. McCaw that is selectively quoted in the motion is based on speculation, hearsay and even media reports.”
Baylor was investigated by the private law firm Pepper Hamilton after multiple reports surfaced from female students accusing football players of sexual assault.
The findings of widespread Title IX violations and an alleged cover-up by the athletics department led to the firing of head coach Art Briles, the demotion and eventual resignation of then-president and chancellor Ken Starr and McCaw being put on probation in May of 2016.
In the court document filed Wednesday, though, McCaw alleges that a four-time Baylor Regent Chair “directed the Pepper Hamilton presentation – and shaped it to accomplish the goals he was seeking.”
He claims there was a “coordinated effort to conceal the University-wide failures by instead focusing exclusively on African-Americans,” blaming black football players for a “decades-long, university-wide sexual assault scandal,” according to the court document.
Labels like “300-pound black football player” were “freely thrown around” as part of the alleged diversion, the document reads.
Former Baylor Title IX coordinator Patty Crawford told McCaw she saw as many as 300 cases across campus in less than two years working at the university, and that “she had not detected any pattern relative to student athletes within that number,” according to McCaw’s testimony.
He also testified that former Baylor police chief Jim Doak and other officials “discouraged reporting and systematically buried rape reports,” with one report alleging an officer put a young woman reporting a rape on hold while he ordered a meal.
McCaw testified that he was “encouraged to join the conspiracy by lying” and that at times he wasn’t informed of sexual assault reports when they involved student-athletes.
He claims the football program and its black athletes, as well as Briles, were “scapegoats” for the university because a campus-wide scandal would be “bad for business.”
“It’s bad for Baylor’s brand, bad for admission, bad for tuition revenue,” the court filing reads. “And obviously you know Baylor is heavily reliant – it does not have a large endowment, so it’s heavily reliant on tuition revenue. So if there’s a dip in admissions, a dip in tuition revenue, that severely affects the university.”
Briles' attorney told the Associated Press Wednesday's filing "validates what Art has been trying to say since the first day.
Baylor fielded roughly 36,000 freshman applications in 2017 – a record high – despite the scandal making national headlines, according to the Houston Chronicle.
McCaw resigned his position at Baylor in May of 2016. Six months later, he took the same job at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, where the deposition was taken last week.
The court filing also notes that McCaw, who took the athletic director job at Baylor in 2003, didn’t receive any Title IX training until 2014. The Pepper Hamilton report cited “a lack of institutional support and engagement by senior leadership” that led to slow implementation of Title IX on campus.
Wednesday’s court filing asks a judge to review evidence against McCaw in the case, including his report on the Pepper Hamilton findings, his separation documents and communications between the school and McCaw’s lawyers.