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#pounditSunday, May 19, 2024

NCAA reportedly won’t drop hammer on Baylor like it did with Penn State

Ken Starr

Baylor University has been entrenched in a sexual assault scandal for quite some time, and many have assumed the allegations against the school’s football program would eventually lead to sanctions similar to the ones Penn State faced. But that’s not going to happen.

Brad Reagan of the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the NCAA has informed Baylor it will not impose sweeping sanctions as a result of the school’s “broad institutional failings.” Penn State, if you remember, faced a four-year bowl ban, vacated wins, scholarship reductions and a $60 million fine in 2012 as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

So why is this different?

As Richard Johnson of SB Nation explains in an extensive breakdown of the reported decision, the sanctions against Penn State have been challenged in court and turned into a disaster. The NCAA’s rules are mostly in place to protect athletic amateurism, not act as a court of law. When the governing body tried to do that with Penn State, it ended up with $60 million it didn’t know how to spend and exposed a broken system by scaling back some of the punishment.

Baylor’s football program is already going down the tubes as a result of the scandal. The Bears’ 2016 signing class consisted of just 17 players, and they have just two commitments for 2017 and none from top prospects.

The NCAA says it will continue to investigate Baylor for several months, so we can’t rule out disciplinary action. The Wall Street Journal notes that the investigation will likely focus on whether Baylor athletes received preferential treatment during the scandal, which would constitute impermissible benefits and be a situation the NCAA is much more comfortable dealing with.

In short, Baylor is hardly off the hook. The NCAA simply realizes it was in over its head with the Penn State scandal, and they’d rather let the legal process play out than have a repeat of that disaster.


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