12.8.16 | Editorial Board
“YOU LOOK at what Baylor [University] was able to do during his tenure, it fits perfectly with where we see our sports program going.” That initial statement from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. announcing the university’s hiring of Ian McCaw as its new athletic director speaks volumes about the school’s misplaced priorities. Baylor earned national notoriety for its mishandling of sexual assaults by athletes; Mr. McCaw resigned as a result of the scandal. But what matters in the warped world of college sports — why Baylor is held up as a model and Mr. McCaw easily finds a new job — are games played and championships won.
Liberty, the Lynchburg, Va., school that bills itself as the largest Christian university, announced Mr. McCaw’s hiring last month, touting how he helped to turn Baylor into a national sports powerhouse. Catalogued were the successes: five national team championships, 58 Big 12 Conference titles, six consecutive bowl games for the first time in the football team’s history. Not mentioned was Mr. McCaw’s resignation from Baylor after he had been sanctioned and placed on probation as part of an investigation into sexual assaults. A law firm that conducted an independent review identified a “hostile environment” in which leaders of the football team and athletic department looked away from and even discouraged the reporting of sexual assaults, including gang rapes. The football coach was fired, and President Kenneth Starr was demoted and eventually left the school.