And, unfortunately for the scandal-plagued Big 12 program, it’s not the Major League Baseball team.
Already mired in myriad federal lawsuits as well as NCAA and Title IX investigations, Baylor University is now the subject of what’s being described as a “preliminary investigation” being handled by the Texas Rangers, a Texas Department of Public Safety official confirmed Wednesday. The investigation centers on the how the university, the football program and campus police handled allegations of sexual assault made against student-athletes.
“The Texas Rangers are working with the local prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine if further action is warranted,” a statement from a TDPS spokesperson read.
The confirmation of the probe comes a little over a month after details in one of the handful of lawsuits emerged, with that suit alleging that 31 Bears football players had committed 52 acts of rape over a period of four years beginning in 2011. It also comes the same week a state lawmaker, Rep. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio, introduced legislation that would compel the Texas Rangers to investigate the university’s handling of the reports of rape.
“Gutierrez’s goal is to “really to see if there’s an obstruction of justice” on the part of the university, the Democratic lawmaker told ESPN.com.
The scandal cost the university’s head football coach, athletic director and president their jobs last year. In early February, the Big 12 announced that it will withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to BU, only releasing the monies “pending the outcome of third-party verification review of required changes to Baylor’s athletics procedures and to institutional governance of its intercollegiate athletics programs, among other matters.”
In response to that measure, the university’s acting president, David E. Garland, released a statement touting “the unprecedented corrective actions” taken by the school. “No other university in the country has responded as aggressively and decisively as Baylor regarding incidents of sexual assaults on its campus,” Garland wrote.
In a statement Wednesday, BU pledged “to extend our full cooperation with the Texas Rangers surrounding the issue of sexual assaults within our campus community several years ago.”