Baylor Football deserves the death penalty

Art Briles answers questions after being introduced as coach of the Baylor football team in Waco, Texas. The allegations against Baylor, its football program and former coach Briles, get uglier with each new lawsuit and legal filing plunging the nation's largest Baptist university further into a roiling stew of grotesque allegations including gang rapes and cover ups. Baylor faces at least six federal lawsuits a civil rights investigation into claims the school mishandled or tried to cover up reports of abuse for years. (Duane A. Laverty/AP)

Following head coach Randy Edsall’s departure from UConn to his “dream job,” after the Huskies’ Fiesta Bowl appearance in 2011, UConn football simply hasn’t been good. Outside of a bowl appearance last season, it’s been a lot of poor (and sometimes scoreless) football. Athletic director David Benedict realized this, and brought back Edsall to replace Bob Diaco with the hopes of playing better football. Bad football is not a great problem to have, but it can be fixed.

Let me tell you, the folks at Baylor University and in the Bears’ athletic department would love to have UConn’s problem right now. For those of you that may not know, Baylor’s problem isn’t that they aren’t winning enough football games, but that they’re facing a lawsuit that says that at least 31 Baylor football players committed 52 rapes from 2011-14, all while then-head coach Art Briles and former athletic director Ian McCaw were cognizant of these heinous crimes and did not act on them.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, others at the university rarely if ever disciplined these players, never reported any of these crimes to authorities and actually interfered with female student’s access to help. Instead of reprimanding players, the university tried to pay off some victims with free tuition and make them sign non-disclosure agreements.

Still not sold on how pathetic the Baylor football program is? In a completely unrelated but equally disturbing incident, strength and conditioning coach Brandon Washington was arrested this past Saturday on a solicitation of prostitution charge and then was fired from his position. Briles and McCaw may be gone, but the lack of human decency seems to permeated deep within the program.

The Big 12 conference took a step in the right direction to a degree on Wednesday, announcing it will withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to Baylor for the future. The only problem is that while it looks like a big deal, it’s barely a slap on the wrist; if Baylor passes a third party inspection that deems the school has sufficiently eliminated those involved with the scandal, they get that money back. It’s not really a penalty, it’s just delaying when a portion of Baylor’s revenue actually gets in their pockets.

With all this information out now on the repeated, terrible crimes that Briles and McCaw continued to let happen, Mark Emmert and the NCAA have an opportunity to do something right for once, and the solution is quite simple: Give Baylor football the death penalty.

The death penalty would mean no competitive football, recruiting or really anything football related other than conditioning for Baylor for one season. Players would be allowed to transfer, and scholarships would likely be cut. A multi-year bowl ban could be implemented as well. It would be a harsher a penalty than what the NCAA handed down to Penn State a few seasons ago, but with nearly the same amount of victims and more people involved who had a chance to intervene and did nothing, a stronger ruling is more than justifiable.

On top of the actual penalties, Baylor would suffer a financial hit from the loss of football TV revenue, advertising and so on. The death penalty hasn’t been used since it crippled a successful but violation rampant SMU team in late 1980’s, but paying players like the Mustangs did pales in comparison to Briles, McCaw and others at Baylor letting these 52 rape crimes go unreported for as long as they did. You can’t put a price on the physical and emotional suffering the women involved in this case have endured.

For all the mistakes the NCAA has made, they can save face and do the right thing by giving the Baylor football program what it deserves. The death penalty would send a loud and clear message that crimes like rape and failure to report such crimes will not be tolerated. Not to mention, it will put a swift end to this terrible, seemingly never-ending saga. The victims of these terrible crimes don’t need it to hang over their head any longer.


Dan Madigan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus, covering women's basketball. He can be reached via email at daniel.madigan@uconn.edu. He tweets @dmad1433.