6 key findings from the Pepper-Hamilton report

Baylor head football coach Art Briles talks to the media during the first day of spring football drills, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Waco, Texas. The school announced Briles' dismissal Thursday. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald via AP)
Baylor head football coach Art Briles talks to the media during the first day of spring football drills, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Waco, Texas. The school announced Briles’ dismissal Thursday. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald via AP)

In the wake of how Baylor University responded to sexual assaults on campus, the university hired the outside law firm Pepper Hamilton in August 2015 to investigate policies, cases and internal school communication. The firm’s report, which was released online Thursdays, found evidence that the school and the athletics department created a “cultural perception that football was above the rules.” Because of these findings, Baylor officials fired head football coach Art Briles and put its athletics director, Ian McCaw, on indefinite probation.

We present six key findings in the Pepper-Hamilton report released by Baylor this morning:

Baylor administrators encouraged victims to not report complaints

“Pepper (Hamilton) also found examples of actions by University administrators that directly discouraged complainants from reporting or participating in student conduct processes, or that contributed to or accommodated a hostile environment. In one instance, those actions constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.”

Football program “was above the rules”

“Leadership challenges and communications issues hindered enforcement of rules and policies, and created a cultural perception that football was above the rules.”

Athletics failed to report alleged sexual assaults to school admins

“In certain instances, including reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, athletics and football personnel affirmatively chose not to report sexual violence and dating violence to an appropriate administrator outside of athletics. In those instances, football coaches or staff met directly with a complainant and/or a parent of a complainant and did not report the misconduct.”

Football staff conducted own inquiries, discredited complainants

“Football staff conducted their own untrained internal inquiries, outside of policy, which improperly discredited complainants and denied them the right to a fair, impartial and informed investigation, interim measures or processes promised under University policy.”

Football staff diverted cases from criminal processes

“Football coaches and staff took affirmative steps to maintain internal control over discipline of players and to actively divert cases from the student conduct or criminal processes.”

Potential transfers were not properly vetted by school

Baylor did not consistently conduct due diligence with respect to potential transfers. In at least one identified instance, the process reflected a failure to conduct appropriate due diligence and assessment of risk regarding past criminal or student conduct and an affirmative decision not to seek additional information about an athlete’s prior criminal or student conduct records.

 

 

Follow live: Baylor regents to answer questions about Art Briles, Ken Starr shake-ups

Follow live as the American-Statesman’s Suzanne Halliburton and others cover a Baylor University Board of Regents teleconference about Thursday’s personnel changes in the wake of the Pepper Hamilton report.

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2014, file photo,Baylor University President Ken Starr, left, jokes with head football coach Art Briles, right, on the first day of NCAA college football practice in Waco, Texas. Baylor University's board of regents says it will fire Briles and re-assign Starr in response to questions about its handling of sexual assault complaints against players. The university said in a statement Thursday, May 26, 2016, that it had suspended Briles "with intent to terminate." Starr will leave the position of president on May 31, but the school says he will serve as chancellor. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT
FILE – In this Aug. 5, 2014, file photo,Baylor University President Ken Starr, left, jokes with head football coach Art Briles, right, on the first day of NCAA college football practice in Waco, Texas. Baylor University’s board of regents says it will fire Briles and re-assign Starr in response to questions about its handling of sexual assault complaints against players. The university said in a statement Thursday, May 26, 2016, that it had suspended Briles “with intent to terminate.” Starr will leave the position of president on May 31, but the school says he will serve as chancellor. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

Football coach Art Briles was suspended indefinitely, and President Ken Starr was removed from that post.

RELATED COVERAGE:

‘Injustice’: Baylor football players tweet displeasure with Art Briles’ firing

See photos of Art Briles through the years

 

‘Injustice’: Baylor football players tweet displeasure with Art Briles’ firing

Earlier this week, the only name on college football fans’ lips was “Ken Starr,” as rumors swirled of the Baylor University president’s firing in response to the school’s sexual assault scandal. On Thursday, that whirlpool abruptly changed directions, as news broke of the ultimate coaching staff shakeup: Art Briles is out.

FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2015, file photo, Baylor coach Art Briles yells from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Lamar in Waco, Texas. Baylor University's board of regents says it will fire Briles and re-assign university President Kenneth Starr in response to questions about its handling of sexual assault complaints against players. The university said in a statement Thursday, May 26, 2016, that it had suspended Briles "with intent to terminate." Starr will leave the position of president on May 31, but the school says he will serve as chancellor. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
FILE – In this Sept. 12, 2015, file photo, Baylor coach Art Briles yells from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Lamar in Waco, Texas. Baylor University’s board of regents says it will fire Briles and re-assign university President Kenneth Starr in response to questions about its handling of sexual assault complaints against players. The university said in a statement Thursday, May 26, 2016, that it had suspended Briles “with intent to terminate.” Starr will leave the position of president on May 31, but the school says he will serve as chancellor. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

The school said in a statement that it was “horrified” at what was revealed in an independent investigation report from law firm Pepper Hamilton. The resulting personnel changes announced Thursday went all the way to the top, but according to the university, Starr is sticking around, albeit not as university president.

SEE PHOTOS OF ART BRILES THROUGH THE YEARS

And even before the official word came from Baylor University officials, the school’s football team had already expressed hard feelings about head coach Briles’ ouster.

Baylor linebacker Taylor Young was among the most vocal on Twitter.

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Outside the locker room, the conversation predictably went many different ways, from satisfaction over the coach’s exit …

… to shock …

https://twitter.com/gnewburn/status/735871334199263232

https://twitter.com/OldRowSports/status/735867228873101312

… to disappointment.

https://twitter.com/Destinyyreyna_/status/735871447399178241

But a consistent thread across social media was asking, “What’s next?”

https://twitter.com/jeramye/status/735870459397451777

https://twitter.com/alexcomer_/status/735870225556574208

Watch the video below to learn what could be next for the Baylor football program.

UPDATED: Art Briles suspended, athletic director on probation, Ken Starr moved to chancellor

Baylor head football coach Art Briles talks to the media during the first day of spring football drills, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Waco, Texas. The school announced Briles' dismissal Thursday. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald via AP)
Baylor head football coach Art Briles talks to the media during the first day of spring football drills, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Waco, Texas. The school announced Briles’ dismissal Thursday. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald via AP)

UPDATED: The Baylor Board of Regents announced Thursday that football coach Art Briles has been suspended, but with “an intent to terminate.”

Athletic director Ian McCaw was placed on probation and school president Ken Starr would be moved to chancellor.

RELATED: ‘Injustice’: Baylor football players tweet displeasure with Art Briles’ firing

The school said in a statement that it was “horrified” at the extent of the sexual assault charges.

“We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus. This investigation revealed the University’s mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students,” said Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. “The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us. Our students and their families deserve more, and we have committed our full attention to improving our processes, establishing accountability and ensuring appropriate actions are taken to support former, current and future students.”

The Pepper Hamilton report found:

“In addition to broader University failings, Pepper found specific failings within both the football program and Athletics Department leadership, including a failure to identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player, to take action in response to reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, and to take action in response to a report of dating violence. Pepper’s findings also reflect significant concerns about the tone and culture within Baylor’s football program as it relates to accountability for all forms of athlete misconduct.”
You can read the report here. Recommendations can be found here.
Briles, 60, earned $5.3 million in base pay last year. He was hired in 2008 to resurrect a moribund program. The Bears won the Big 12 in 2013 and were co-champions in 2014. Baylor ranked as high as second nationally last fall.

STORY IS DEVELOPING

UPDATED: There still is no official word from Baylor confirming the news that football coach Art Briles has been terminated.

But Briles’ official Twitter account was deactivated at about 11 a.m.

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EARLIER: Several outlets are reporting that Baylor has dismissed coach Art Briles and that his players have been informed.

Baylor linebacker Taylor Young is posting on social media that he will refuse to play unless the school reinstates  Briles.

https://twitter.com/tyoung_01/status/735853430778912768

 

https://twitter.com/tyoung_01/status/735853430778912768

 

https://twitter.com/tyoung_01/status/735857743467143169

EARLIER: Baylor is planning to release the findings of an independent review today that will detail how the school handled sexual assault allegations made against its players over the past five years.

 

Baylor hired the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton last September to study how it handled allegations.

As buzz grew that school president Ken Starr would be fired, the school said earlier this week that it would announce its findings by June 3.

The school has come under national scrutiny since August as allegations of sexual assault against its football players continued to surface.

Former Baylor players Tevin Elliott and Sam Ukwuachu, both defensive ends, were imprisoned after being convicted of rape. Defensive end Shawn Oakman was charged with sexual assault last month. Tight end Tre’Von Armstead was expelled from school after it determined that he had sex with a student too inebriated to give consent.

Elliott was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2014. Prosecutors said he raped five women. Ukwuachu, a transfer from Boise State who never played for Baylor, was sentenced in August to 180 days in a state jail.

Oakman, who set Baylor’s career record for sacks, was charged in April after a woman said he raped her after the two met at a Waco nightclub. He was arrested days before the NFL draft and was not selected.

Then ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” uncovered Waco police reports that detailed investigations of three more players, although charges were never filed. The players were accused of domestic assault.

The school has settled one lawsuit filed by one of the victims. A second suit was filed earlier this year by a woman who contends that the school failed to protect her.

The regents received a preliminary briefing two weeks ago about a report from Pepper Hamilton, a Philadelphia law firm the school hired last fall to conduct an independent review of how it has handled the allegations.

Last week, the Texas attorney general’s office ordered the Baylor campus police department to release certain records pertaining to its sexual assault investigations. A year ago, the Texas Legislature ordered that records from police departments of private universities across the state to be subject to public information laws.