IRVING, Texas — The Big 12 expects that the conference’s investigation into Baylor University’s Title IX procedures and practices will be over soon.
“We don’t think we have an exact time frame, but we are hopeful we are at the end or very close to the end,” said West Virginia president Gordon Gee, who sits on the Baylor review subcommittee.
The league is withholding 25 percent of Baylor’s revenue distribution until it can verify that the university has completed the 105 Title IX recommendations laid out in the report law firm Pepper Hamilton prepared after being hired by Baylor in August 2015. Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades confirmed that 20 of the recommendations are specific to athletics.
“Not only have we implemented, but we have a plan for sustainability,” Rhoades said. “Both the institution and athletics have made great strides. I think we feel really good where we are.”
The Big 12 announced an average distribution of $36.5 million per school on Friday. Of that, about $17 million is waiting for Baylor in an escrow account. The Big 12 will distribute the payment to Baylor once it can verify that all the recommendations have been implemented at the university. Baylor president Linda Livingstone confirmed that the athletic budget has remained steady, despite functioning without the expected revenue.
“We think Baylor is making real progress,” Gee said. “Their subcommittee met and we had a meeting with President Livingstone. I think they are working diligently to meet the expectations of the Big 12.”
Baylor received sanctions after a major university Title IX scandal that came to a head in 2016. The university fired president Ken Starr and football coach Art Briles because of Title IX violations and failed investigative processes that occurred under their jurisdiction. Athletic director Ian McCaw resigned days later.
The university announced it had hired Rhoades as athletic director two years ago during Big 12 Media Days. It hired Livingstone one year ago.
Several other investigations into the university’s response are ongoing. The Texas Rangers, Office of Civil Rights and Clery Center with the Department Education all have active probes. A few scattered lawsuits remain.
“We certainly hope that over the next one to two years that the majority of those issues, and the majority of the lawsuits that we’re working through, are resolved and addressed,” Livingstone said.
Gee said he is encouraged by what he has seen from Baylor. Both he and Bowlsby have been complimentary of the efforts that Livingstone, Rhoades and football coach Matt Rhule have made to improve the culture on campus.
“I think it will set a very good standard for all of us,” Gee said. “One needs to only look at what’s going on around the country. It’s an environment we all have to deal with and all fear. Baylor working diligently sets examples for options and opportunities we can all look at.
“We think Baylor is making real progress. I think they are working diligently to meet the expectations of the Big 12.”