DALLAS (CBS11) – Baylor alumni from North Texas are speaking out about sanctions the Big 12 Conference announced Wednesday. The troubled university will face significant financial penalties until an independent audit can prove the school has put reforms in place.
Dallas-area Baylor graduates are a tight community and some tell CBS11 they’re eager to see their school recover from the public shame of sexual assault scandals. Now they’re hoping this action by the Big 12 Conference could be a turning point.
Steve Howen is one of countless Baylor alumni who call DFW home. The Metroplex has one of the biggest concentrations of Baylor graduates, and the last several months have been painful as their alma mater faces multiple federal lawsuits and investigations into claims that the school and football program are responsible for a years- long culture of sexual and physical abuse.
“You started feeling uneasy about it, and then as it just grew and grew, your stomach gets tied in knots a little bit more and more. and to the point, now we’re all just saying when is it going to stop? Please make it stop,” Howen said.
Now that the Big 12 announced it will withhold 25 percent of future revenue payments to Baylor until an independent audit is complete.
Baylor alum Heath Fischer said he hopes potentially losing millions of dollars will motivate the school to get to the bottom of what went wrong and how to fix it.
“I want to see the truth. I want to see who knew what, what they knew, and just honestly bring closure to what happened,” Fischer said.
Baylor’s interim president pledged to cooperate with the independent audit, but a Big 12 spokesperson wouldn’t put a timeline on it. Until then some just hope this punishment is enough without leading to additional sanctions.
“In sailing terms when you get a shot across the bow, you either go straight on and get blown up, or you tack, and I hope we tack,” Howen said.
To be clear, the money withheld could be returned to Baylor if the auditor finds the university has made positive changes. Until then, the school’s interim president says he does not think the penalties will, “materially impact the overall financial position of the University.”
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