Friday's college football: Baylor disputes ex-AD's claims

Associated Press
Baylor football coach Art Briles was fired amid a sexual assault investigation in 2016.

Waco, Texas — Baylor says its former athletic director made “factually baseless assertions” in a court deposition when he claimed regents tried to steer blame for the school’s sexual assault scandal to the football team.

The Waco Tribune reported Friday former Baylor AD Ian McCaw in June gave a 400-page deposition in a Title IX lawsuit against the university. McCaw, football coach Art Briles and university President Ken Starr all left Baylor in 2016 after the school hired a law firm to investigate how sexual assault claims, some against football players, were handled.

McCaw, who is now athletic director at Liberty University in Virginia, criticized the Pepper Hamilton investigation, saying regents directed its outcome. He testified black football players were made into scapegoats for university-wide problems. He also criticized university police for their handling of sexual assault cases.

In the deposition, McCaw said former Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak had to step down in 2014 for mishandling sexual misconduct complaints and discouraging investigations of some allegations.

McCaw eventually resigned amid pressure from regents not long after Pepper Hamilton’s finding of facts were released by Baylor.

In a statement to the Tribune, Baylor said: “Despite the numerous, factually baseless assertions in Mr. McCaw’s deposition, one fact remains  several incidents of sexual and interpersonal violence involving student-athletes were reported during his tenure as athletics director. It was the Baylor Board of Regents that stepped up and took action, launching an independent investigation  by the nation’s top sexual assault experts  of not only the football program but of the entire campus in terms of how reports of sexual violence were handled over a specific period.”

The school also said McCaw’s claims of a “conspiracy by regents” were unsubstantiated.

The Pepper Hamilton investigation led to 105 recommendations for the school to reform its Title IX process after finding the football program operated as if it was “above the rules” and that assistant coaches and staff interfered or stifled investigations into alleged assaults by players.

Briles, one of the most successful football coaches in school history was fired, and the university paid him $15 million to settle his contract.

Extra points

A jury has been selected in the rape trial of former Tennessee football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams, clearing the way for opening statements to take place Monday.

The list of 15 potential jurors — three will be randomly chosen as alternates before deliberation — includes nine women, six men and no African-Americans. Johnson and Williams are both black. The woman who says they raped her is white.

Lawyers for Johnson and Williams filed objections over the makeup of the jury pool. The pool of over 100 potential jurors included only one African-American.

Johnson was a linebacker and Williams a defensive back for Tennessee when a woman told police both men raped her on Nov. 16, 2014. Johnson and Williams were indicted February 2015 on charges of aggravated rape.

... Reigning national champion Alabama has been picked to win the Southeastern Conference championship in a preseason media poll.

Alabama was selected by 193 of the 284 voters this week at SEC media days. Georgia, last year’s SEC champion which lost to Alabama in the national championship game, was second with 69 votes.