The NCAA investigation into Baylor’s sexual assault scandal is expected to conclude soon, and the school thinks it may not face any serious punishment.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Mac Engel, citing sources, reported Wednesday the university expects the investigation will be over before the start of the fall academic term. The NCAA is expected to hand down its decision by the spring of 2019.
Former Baylor coach Art Briles could also benefit from the NCAA’s eventual decision.
From the Star-Telegram:
There is a chance the findings of the NCAA’s investigation could also potentially exonerate Briles, who has not worked since he was fired by Baylor.
Baylor athletic department officials are hoping/expecting the precedent set by the NCAA in the University of North Carolina’s academic fraud case will be yield similar results in Waco.
Briles has not received any sort of formal punishment from the NCAA yet for his alleged mishandling of sexual assault allegations against Baylor football players during his time as coach. If the NCAA elects not to give him a show-cause penalty, that would take down a major obstacle to his ability to land another college coaching job.
However, given the public outcry when a CFL team tried to hire him as an assistant in 2017, that probably will not matter. He may still be too much of a public relations liability to land a job anywhere.
Then there’s the precedent set by the NCAA investigation into North Carolina. In that probe, the NCAA ruled it couldn’t penalize North Carolina for letting student-athletes take fake classes because those classes were also available to the general student population, making it a larger academic and university matter where the NCAA did not have jurisdiction.
In Baylor’s situation, the Pepper Hamilton report found failings in the university’s response to sexual assault allegations and implementation of Title IX on a campus-wide level. Even though the report mentioned the problems with the athletic department specifically, Baylor officials apparently believe the same principle that shielded North Carolina from the NCAA hammer may keep their athletic department from facing very harsh penalties.
The NCAA investigation opened its investigation into Baylor in May 2017, one year after the Pepper Hamilton report and Briles’ firing. Baylor is facing multiple federal Title IX lawsuits by alleged sexual assault victims.