Ex-Baylor athletic director: Black athletes made scapegoats
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The former athletic director at Baylor University alleges that regents schemed to make black football players scapegoats for a decades-long problem of sexual assault at the nation’s largest Baptist school, and that he resigned rather than be part of a massive cover-up.
Ian McCaw said he was “disgusted” by the racism and the “phony” investigation document that Baylor issued in 2016 that leveled findings against the football program, according to excerpts from his June 19 deposition. He also testified that he ultimately resigned because he “did not want to be part of some Enron cover-up scheme.”
The excerpts appear in documents filed Wednesday by attorneys representing 10 women who are suing Baylor over how it handled their allegations of sexual assault. McCaw, who is white, was subpoenaed to testify as part of the lawsuit.
Baylor was engulfed in a sexual assault scandal surrounding its football team in 2016, ultimately resulting in the firing of then-football coach Art Briles and the demotion of the university’s president, Ken Starr . McCaw was also disciplined by the school and put on probation. He resigned a few days later.
Baylor has already settled several other lawsuits from women who said their reports of sexual assault were mishandled or ignored.
McCaw’s full deposition from the pending lawsuit remains under seal. The excerpts of his testimony were included in a request to a federal judge to force Baylor to produce documents that the school has withheld, citing student privacy.
Baylor released a statement Wednesday that didn’t specifically contradict McCaw’s allegations, but said much of the “selectively quoted” testimony in the motion was “based on speculation, hearsay and even media reports.”
“The plaintiffs’ counsel have grossly mischaracterized facts to promote a misleading narrative in an effort to deflect attention away from the actual facts of the case pending before the court,” the school said. “Baylor has complied and will continue to comply with all court rules in this case.”
McCaw is now the athletic director at Liberty University in Virginia, where a school spokesman said McCaw would have no further comment.
But in the Wednesday court filing, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said McCaw didn’t attempt “to hide his own responsibility and readily admitted that the athletic department was not blameless.” The filing didn’t address claims previously made by Baylor officials that McCaw didn’t tell campus investigators of an alleged sexual assault of a volleyball player.
Baylor hired a law firm in 2015 to review how the school handled sexual assault claims after several incidents involving football players. Then in May 2016, the school issued a 13-page “findings of fact” focused on its most troubling findings on a football program that was portrayed as acting as if it was above the rules. The document also suggested that some staff interfered with investigations and witnesses.
Baylor officials have said the investigation found that 17 women had reported incidents of sexual and domestic violence involving 19 Baylor football players since 2011, including several cases that involved gang rapes.
Briles, who was paid $15 million by Baylor to settle his contract after his dismissal as head football coach, has insisted he did not cover up reports of assaults by players. He said he encouraged alleged victims to go to the police.
In his deposition, McCaw also testified that former Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak had “discouraged reporting and systematically buried rape reports,” and concealed the reports from him when they involved Baylor athletes, according to the Wednesday court filing. McCaw said one recording of a sexual assault call revealed a police dispatcher putting the woman on hold so he could order a meal.
Baylor’s former interim president, David Garland, also testified during a deposition last year that said Doak’s department discouraged victims from reporting sexual assaults. Doak resigned in 2013.
McCaw said a former Baylor official told him that “if Chief Doak was still here, we wouldn’t fire him. We’d have to execute him.”
Doak did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment Wednesday from The Associated Press.
McCaw said the law firm that conducted the university review, Pepper Hamilton, advised him there would be three possible outcomes to their report: a detailed document, a summary report or a means “to whitewash the whole thing.” McCaw said a Baylor regent, J. Cary Gray, ultimately decided to write a “false” and “misleading ‘finding of fact’ skewed to make the football program look bad and cover up the campus-wide failings.”
Briles’ attorney, Ernest Cannon, said McCaw’s testimony validates what Briles “has been trying to say from the first day: Baylor had a campus-wide problem. It was not unique to the athletic department. They hired a law firm, told them what they wanted to conclude, and put it off on coach Briles.”
“Unfortunately for coach, Baylor needed two things: A bus and someone to throw under it,” Cannon said.