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John E. Hoover: Once again, Big 12 misses the mark with Baylor ‘penalty’

John E. Hoover: Once again, Big 12 misses the mark with Baylor ‘penalty’
Oct 5, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; A view of the new chrome helmets of the Baylor Bears before the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Floyd Casey Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 Conference let Baylor off easy with Wednesday’s announcement that the league will withhold 25 percent of the school’s revenue until certain conditions are met.

The Big 12 Conference finally penalized Baylor on Wednesday.

Only, it really didn’t.

The headline — “Big 12 to withhold 25 percent of Baylor revenues” — sounds great. On the surface.

Upon deeper inspection, the Big 12’s decision to hang onto a portion of the future dollars earmarked for  Waco comes on as little more than grandstanding, a hollow threat.

My Further Review co-host, Lauren Rew, came up with a perfect analogy:

Baylor is the kid who keeps misbehaving. The Big 12 is the parent who finally gets fed up dealing with the family shame.

The Big 12 tells little Baylor, “I’m gonna take away one fourth of your toys (or video games or comic books or whatever). And when you improve your attitude and do your chores and finish your homework, you can have them back.”

The 25 percent of Baylor’s revenue share that the Big 12 Board of Directors intends to withhold amounts to about $6 million.

big-12-logoBut if Baylor meets all the conditions set forth by an independent review — a review that supposedly will demand sweeping procedural changes regarding how the school handled multiple sexual assault allegations and Title IX violations in recent years — then Baylor gets back all the money it’s owed.

The money in question — which hasn’t even been distributed to the schools yet — reportedly will be kept in an escrow account until which time Baylor makes its bed and picks up its room and takes out the trash (OK, that last metaphor actually works pretty well).

Baylor president David Garland, who calls the Big 12’s announcement “an unexpected financial event,” says of the 105 reforms recommended in the damning Pepper Hamilton report, 80 to 90 already have been met.

Just need to take my socks to the hamper and hang up my shirts and I’ll be finished mom!

What kind of penalty is that?

The Big 12’s punishment lacks any real discipline.

The league doesn’t want to punish Baylor, it just wants to correct the school’s behavior — which, thanks to public shaming from the neighbors (ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”), a visit from the local constable (several players already are serving time) and an intervention from the principal’s office (Pepper Hamilton) already has been largely corrected.

Just look at the short leash the school’s new administration had with new strength coach Brandon Washington, who was immediately fired when he was arrested this week in a prostitution sting.

Once again, the Big 12 missed the mark.

Instead of finally getting “tough” long after the mess is mostly cleaned up, the league should have exercised its parental rights and punished Baylor with a reduction of scholarships and a lasting financial penalty.

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says there’s no precedent or ground rules by which to so punish Baylor, but isn’t that the point? This is the Big 12’s opportunity to set the precedent, to lay the ground rules.

Such a show of authority likely permanently fixes the problems in Waco, but it also sends a strong message to other schools — in the Big 12 and elsewhere — that if you turn a blind eye to criminal behavior and let your football team terrorize its campus, there will be real, meaningful penalties.

There will be consequences for your actions.

Isn’t that what parents should be teaching their kids?


Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard on The Franchise Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. every weekday with co-host Lauren Rew and most mornings on The Franchise in Oklahoma City. Listen on fm107.9, am1270 on the 107.7 Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page.

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Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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