Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Baylor Football Sexual Assault Scandal (2016)

Company Background

Baylor University is a private Baptist university located in Waco, Texas. Being chartered in 1845, it is currently the oldest continuously operating university in Texas and is the world’s largest Baptist university. As seen on Baylor’s official website, “The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.” This school wants to implement the views of the Christian faith, as well as cultural standpoints and offers a mixed variety of majors to welcome all who show interest. They are very active in their community, volunteering locally for more than 150,000 hours annually between the staff and students. Degree programs include: 142 baccalaureate, 75 masters, 41 doctoral, and 2 education specialist programs. This school is also in the top 7 percent in the National Merit Scholars program. Their sports teams are placed in the Big 12 Conference, and football specifically did not do well last season, finishing 8th out of 10 teams in the conference. Ever since 2011, when they finished 10-3, won the Alamo Bowl, and produced a Heisman Trophy winner (the MVP award of college football) in Robert Griffin the 3rd, they have not had a successful season of that caliber.

Ethics Case Controversy

Baylor football is facing serious legal issues after a woman came out alleging that she was sexually assaulted by two men on the football team. Tre'Von Armstead and Shamycheal Chatman were the two originally accused by this woman, but once the news surfaced that she filed a lawsuit for Title IX and negligence, 52 other reports of sexual assault were observed against 31 Baylor football players in January of 2017. Accusations were made back in 2012 and 2013, but the football staff paid off these women so that they would stay quiet about the issue. 17 student athletes were among the accusers, and it is assumed that the coaches and recruiting staff were well aware of the incidents that had occurred and did everything in their power to direct attention away from their players. The assistant coach at the time, Kendal Briles, asked one recruit, "Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players" (Dallas News). He was insinuating sexual means and broadcasting the women as a way to gain an advantage to land recruits to his school. As a result of his actions, along with other staff members, the head coach, assistant coach, and the president of the school were all terminated.
Former Head Coach Art Briles (left)
 Former Assistant Coach Kendal Briles (right)

An independent investigation found that the athletic department at Baylor left women in risky situations by steering them away from reporting their assaults and keeping the accusations against football players quiet. Art Briles, the head coach of the team during this crisis, came out publicly to address the issue. "He couldn't speak he was so upset, all of us were," said J. Cary Gray. "Art said, "I delegated down, and I know I shouldn't have. And I had a system where I was the last to know, and I should have been the first to know'" (CBS Sports). He showed great remorse and acted as if he was not aware of the situation, but fingers are continuously being pointed in his direction, which ultimately lead to his firing. Leaked text messages that were made public thanks to TMZ Sports show conversations Briles had with other staff members about ways to cover up bad situations that involved his players in the past. Once these were leaked to the public, it damaged his reputation and made him look guilty as ever. Multiple journalists gave their statements about this case, and most of them agreed that although Baylor has clearly made attempts to fix the issues at hand, they created a culture of sexual violence that made women on the campus feel in danger and ultimately put them at risk of these sexual assaults.


Once people read about the lack of safety precautions demonstrated at Baylor University, it is hard to imagine a family that is willing to send their son or daughter to this school. With blatant attempts to cover up the wrong doings and seemingly no punishment initiated by the school, how could they feel safe knowing that their child is at a school that has become well known due to domestic and sexual assault cases. Students who are currently attending this University, along with current faculty and coaching staff, now have to deal with all the press and police swarming their campus in search for answers. Neighboring colleges or ones that offer similar academic and athletic opportunities could see a spike in enrollment if this case scares away prospects who originally were considering attending Baylor. The community surrounding Baylor, which had a reputation of being a prestigious and religious school for their academics and athletics, now has to face the fact that some of the students attending this school are monsters and are something to worry about. The community took pride in being a part of Baylor, and now some of the people within will second guess their opinions of the school. Other sports teams will now feel obligated to work harder and become great so they can slowly repair the school's damaged reputation and bring something positive for their fans to celebrate.


Adam Smith, who is known as the grandfather of economics, believes that by being truthful and honest with one another, it will ultimately lead to a better and more productive market. By being able to trust the parties that we interact with, we will not have to worry about the bad intentions those contacts may have - because those intentions will not exist. When companies do business together, they each stand to gain something. If one side does not hold up their end of the deal, the transaction will go south and neither party will be better off. Now that one of the programs at Baylor has ruined this trust with the school and the NCAA, all of the athletic teams will be watched much more closely to ensure this behavior does not continue.

Milton Friedman, a philosopher of individualism, believes that a company's sole responsibility is to make a profit while staying within the constraints of the law. Baylor has a decent football team overall and generates revenue, but they surely did not abide by NCAA regulations. The NCAA requires teams to report any illegal activities conducted by their players, and on multiple occasions that is not what Baylor did. The coaches were more concerned with keeping the players involved on the field instead of bringing them to justice and helping the women who were violated.

Matt Rhule - New head coach of Baylor football
The more trust that Baylor is able to have for their employees, the better off the University will be as a whole. They can assume that their staff will follow the strict NCAA guidelines without having to check in on them. The new head coach of the football team, Matt Rhule, will surely have his work cut out for him upon the upcoming season. Management must take the proper steps to ensure that something like this will never happen again in their organization. According to Friedman, a business does not necessarily have to be socially responsible, but once they break the rules of the land, they are in the wrong doing. If the coaching staff had come forth with these allegations before things got out of hand, there would be less of an issue. Yes this would still be wrong on behalf of the players involved, but if the coaches would have been truthful and honest to the NCAA standards, Baylor would not look nearly as bad as they do now.


Utilitarianism is all about bringing happiness and pleasure to all beings capable of feeling it. "Happiness and pleasure are the only things of intrinsic value" according to John Stuart Mill (Salazar PPT 3), so it is only right that we bring these feelings to people surrounding us as often as we can. The women who were victimized were not treated in this manner, and instead were told to deal with the pain they endured so the football players could keep playing. They were told to act as if this situation never happened to them, and this only brought about happiness to the players involved, knowing that they had seemingly gotten away with these heinous crimes.

"Utilitarianism tells us that we can determine the ethical significance of any action by looking to the consequences of that act" (DesJardins 29). While covering up for the players on the team, the coaching staff did not take into consideration the negative consequences that would occur. Their only concern was to keep their players on the field, and not all of the rules that they were breaking in the process. They blatantly disregarded the laws of the NCAA and the school, and now multiple staff members are found with out a job. Before deciding to save a couple of their players, they should have weighed the rewards that would come from their decisions along with the risks. After finishing the season with a mediocre record, it makes the public believe that it was not worth it at all. Utilitarianism measures "the cost and benefits of various actions and principles not just for their impact on one individual or one company, but rather all beings who are affected by the actions proposed or taken" (Salazar 19). The staff did not take into consideration that would be damaging the University as whole, but instead focused on the football team alone. They were selfish in their actions and now Baylor needs to attempt to fix their mess.


According to kantianism, people should "Act rationally - don't act inconsistently in your own actions or consider yourself exempt from the rules" (Salazar PPT 5). When the Baylor football coaching staff chose to cover up the claims of the alleged sexual assaults, they were acting in their own selfish manner. "The suit alleges coaching staff members, including Kendal Briles, encouraged a culture of sexual violence by arranging for women to have sex with recruits on official campus visits" (WacoTrib Timeline). The women may have originally agreed to the terms, but once things became violent, their autonomy was disrespected and disregarded. They were violated in ways they could have never imagined, and if they had known that this would lead to such harmful actions, they never would have signed up.

According to the formula of humanity, we should "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means" (Salazar PPT 5). This is saying that we should not only interact with one another to gain something for ourselves, but rather respect those that we come into contact with and help both sides be better off. The football staff lied and manipulated the victimized to women in order to keep the assaults away from the police and the media. They told these women that what happened to them was not wrong and that they should not get justice for themselves, but instead live with the pain and regret caused by those actions. In the eyes of kantianism, companies should "Always ct in ways that respect and honor individuals and their choices. Don't lie, cheat, manipulate, or harm others to get your way. Rather, use informed and rational consent from all parties" (Salazar 20). By persuading these women not to file lawsuits and lying about the events that were occurring, they took away the right for the women to do what they felt necessary and betrayed the NCAA in the process.

Virtue Theory

The 4 virtues in business are courage, honesty, temperance, and justice - all of which require a business to be respecting the wants and needs of others. A virtue theorist cares about an organization's character and how the people within the organization act in reflection as to what a company as a whole stands for. Courage involves being able to take a stand for the right ideas and actions, which the staff at Baylor did not do. They covered up and denied all accusations until an official lawsuit was filed, drawing attention to the football organization and everyone included. In the original case that brought these accusations to the surface, there was little done to help. "Waco Police responded to the scene but did not aggressively investigate the case, and neither did Baylor police, the lawsuit alleged. Neither Armstead nor Chatman was charged with a crime" (Washington Post). Upon arriving to the scene, the woman was found unclothed, laying on the ground, and explaining how she was not okay at all. Due to the status of the men who committed these crimes, the police did not pursue the allegations and acted as if nothing happened. There was no justice brought to this woman and she received no pity.

The coaching staff and police were not honest in their reports, in fact they did not file any. They did not do what was expected of them, which is to keep the public safe and out of harms way. Baylor also violated the virtue of justice in their wrong doings, which can be defined as "hard work, quality products, good ideas, fair practices" (Salazar PPT 4). They worked hard, but in the wrong aspect. They worked to tie up any loose ends that would have ultimately led to the expulsion of their football players. Fair practices were clearly not present due to the violation of school and NCAA rules by broadcasting sex as a recruitment tool and not dishing out punishments to those who got too violent.

Justified Ethics Evaluation

In my opinion, the coaching and recruiting staff at Baylor blatantly disregarded the assault accusations against their football players and use unethical means to cover them up. If they had followed NCAA guidelines as to how to handle these situations, they would have saved the integrity of the school and been able to continue pursuing their careers as members of Baylor football. Once confronted in January of 2107, all of the accused staff members still denied having any involvement in these activities, which just added gas to the fire. It was unethical of this staff to ignore the safety in others and cause women who were on campus to live their lives in fear.

The Baylor football staff did not do what an ethical establishment would do. They denied the stories, they convinced the victims to stay quiet, and they put the safety of all women at Baylor in jeopardy. They put the value of their team ahead of the value of human beings to help give themselves an advantage. They had a mediocre season during this scandal, placing 7th in their division and physically having nothing to show for it. You would think that by their actions, they had a big picture planned for the football team since keeping them together was so vital, but they did not accomplish much at all. Bottom line, it is never okay to disregard accusations of sexual assault, whether it seem legitimate or not, it should always be investigated. What the players and staff on this team did was unjust, unethical, and downright inexcusable.


"About Baylor - A Nationally Ranked Christian University, Undergraduate & Graduate Research Colleges Universities Schools in Texas." Baylor University. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

Hobson, Will. "Lawsuit Alleges Baylor Football Rape Scandal More Widespread than Reported." The Washington Post. WP Company, 27 Jan. 2017. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

"NCAA FBS (Division I-A) Football Standings." ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

"New Baylor Lawsuit Alleges 52 Rapes by Football Players in 4 Years, 'show 'em a Good Time' Culture | Baylor." Dallas News. N.p., 27 Jan. 2017. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

Robby Kalland @rkalland. "Four Things to Know: Baylor Regents Detail Briles' Response to Sexual Assault Scandal." CBSSports.com. N.p., 28 Oct. 2016. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

Staff, TMZ. "Baylor Football Scandal ... Art Briles' Alleged Text Messages Exposed." TMZ. TMZ.com, 02 Feb. 2017. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.
"Timeline: Baylor Sexual Assault Controversy." WacoTrib.com. N.p., 29 Mar. 2017. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.

No comments:

Post a Comment