IRVING (AP) – The Big 12 is working toward the completion of verifying that Baylor is fully implementing 105 recommendations for reforming its Title IX process after a campus sexual assault scandal broke two years ago.
West Virginia President Gordon Gee, chairman of the Big 12’s board of directors, said Thursday night that the league subcommittee looking into the Baylor situation is “coming close” to having the necessary verification.
When asked what that meant timing-wise, Gee, who is part of that subcommittee, responded, “Oh, much less than a year, and probably not tomorrow.” That was a reference to Friday, the final day of the Big 12 spring meetings and when the league announces its revenue distribution for the 2017-18 academic year.
The Big 12 last year started withholding 25 percent of revenue payments to Baylor pending verification of the changes recommended by Pepper Hamilton, the firm that handled the initial investigation in 2016 at the school. The scandal led to the departures of school president Ken Starr, athletic director Ian McCaw and two-time Big 12 champion football coach Art Briles.
A $10 million distribution had already been made last year when the league decided to withhold money in escrow. About $6 million of Baylor’s remaining $24.8 million distribution was withheld last June when the league’s 10 schools shared $348 million in revenue.
Another record revenue number is expected Friday.
“Baylor’s done a tremendous job of responding to everything we’ve asked for,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “I think we’d like to move ahead as efficiently and as soon as we possibly can.”
After the Big 12 spring meetings wrap up, the next scheduled meeting of the league’s board of directors, made up of the presidents and chancellors from the league’s universities, is in October.
The focus of the Big 12 review is to verify that Baylor is implementing the Pepper Hamilton recommendations dealing with processes, communication, training and response related to incidents of sexual violence.
Attorney Janet P. Judge, who helped author an NCAA manual on gender equity, was hired by the league last year to help in the verification needed for Baylor to get its full Big 12 revenue distribution.
Linda Livingstone, who is wrapping up her first year as Baylor’s president, said the school is working “very positively and collaboratively” with the conference.
“We look forward to continue working with the Big 12,” Livingstone said. “I hope that others are learning from the experience that we’ve had. I think if anybody looks at what we’ve done and the audit that is public, that we’ve posted on those 105, it’s a great roadmap for any other institution to look at with regards for policies and processes and procedures.”
Baylor has settled federal Title IX lawsuits against the school related to the sexual assault scandal and previously settled with three women who hadn’t sued. There are still other lawsuits, as well as federal, state and NCAA investigations.
“Each of those occurs on a bit different time cycle,” Livingstone said. “We certainly hope that over the next 1-2 years that the majority of those issues, and the majority of the lawsuits that we’re working through are resolved and addressed.”
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