Outlaw programs in college sports are usually easy to define. Any school that hires Lane Kiffin or Tim Floyd or John Caliperi is odds on a favorite to be an outlaw program. Think USC about a decade ago. Think Oklahoma while Barry Switzer was in charge, or while Kelvin Sampson was the basketball coach (or while Sampson was the basketball coach at Indiana). Look at Florida State. And don’t forget about SMU football in the 1980s, the school that essentially dared the NCAA to give it the death penalty.
So where does Baylor fit into all of this? What about the school just up the road run by Baptists that’s so big on morality that it hired Ken Starr as the school’s president? That same school that at one point employed Dave Bliss to coach basketball and got to experience his destruction of a dead player’s reputation in order to cover up recruiting and grade irregularities.
The school's football team under Art Briles has yet to be associated with anything as ugly as the murder of one of its players by a teammate, as happened with the Bliss basketball team. But there was the matter of Sam Ukwuachu, a player who transferred from Boise State after being suspended from that team. Boise State claims it informed Briles and Baylor that Ukwuachu had a history of assault, yet Baylor took him in, and then did its best to cover up things when Ukwuachu was accused of sexual assault — despite Baylor’s best attempt to cover up the incident, Ukwuahcu was eventually found guilty by a jury.
Then there’s this past weekend where a Baylor coach was found on the sideline of another team scouting an opponent, which is against NCAA rules. Baylor suspended the coach for the first half of this week’s game. Earlier this season Briles’ son, an assistant coach, was suspended due to a recruiting violation.
Sure, these are rather stupid, and they’re nothing along the lines of Ukwuachu and his sexual assault, but still, it all kind of reeks of a lack of institutional control. Where's the outrage?
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Remember the uproar over Jameis Winston and his alleged sexual assault, or Winston and the incident with the crab legs? People still speak of Florida State being out-of-control and the home of criminals where football is more important than academics, but things have been rather quiet with regards to Baylor.
So why is it different at Baylor? Where’s the shouting, the anger? Why isn’t what’s going on at Baylor being used to condemn college sports in the manner that Reggie Bush being paid to play at USC was used as an example of all that’s wrong at the collegiate sports level. Is it because, for the most part, Baylor has sucked at sports for so long? Is it because Baylor plays such a crappy schedule that it’ll never be in competition for the national title?
Perhaps we've just hit outrage overload, a breaking point at which NCAA violations and players assaulting women just doesn’t matter to fans anymore. Or maybe it’s just that fans only care when it involves a high profile school with a history of not controlling players. But if you’re going to be pissed off about Jameis Winston, or if you’re going to scream about things done in the past USC and SMU and Oklahoma, then it’s time for you to get angry about Baylor.
Baylor will likely defeat Rice tomorrow, and probably pretty easily. And there’s not really that much competition in the Big 12 for Baylor to worry about, except for maybe TCU. But maybe Baylor’s only worst enemy is Baylor. And maybe it’s time the fans of college football started giving to Baylor and its fans the same degree of anger and wrath they heap upon the likes of Florida State every year.