Sports

No rest for the weary: The NBA becomes an illogical idiom

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Sometimes NBA teams want to rest their players. The NBA does not like it.

Following high-profile instances of an NBA team resting it star player(s), NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to the league’s board of governors. The memo describes the ways in which this practice of resting players is bad for the league:

Decisions of this kind … can affect fans and business partners, impact our reputation and damage the perception of our game. With so much at stake, it is simply not acceptable for governors to be uninvolved or to defer decision-making authority on these matters to others in their organizations.

In other words, the decision to rest players is bad for business and unfair to fans. Furthermore, the players don’t need the time off. Resting players in the absence of injury merely contributes to the perception that the quality of the NBA product has wavered and lends credence to the notion that current players do not measure up to players of the past.

While most, Adam Silver included, seemingly do not dispute the right of teams to rest players when deemed necessary, it is the timing of the rest which becomes problematic.

When the Cleveland Cavaliers sit LeBron James during a Sunday night game or when both the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs rest their star players for a Saturday night game broadcast on national television, it’s a problem. Ratings for the game are bound to be lower than expected, resulting in decreased advertising revenue. Fans are robbed of perhaps their sole opportunity to see Steph Curry play in person.

 

A few different solutions have been offered to this issue. Build more off-days into the NBA schedule. Make healthy, resting players go through every other aspect of NBA game day. Give refunds to fans and business partners if players are rested. Cut minutes-per-game instead of sitting the player for a full game. Or, if you’re going to sit a player, sit them at home.

In essence, the argument is to take the game out of the hands of those actually controlling the outcome, the coaches and players.

But there is no need for these “solutions” because the underlying arguments are illogical. They make no sense.

First, NBA players do not miss more games now than in the past. According to data from Man-Games Lost, the total number of games missed has been relatively steady over the past decade. NBA players are healthier than ever and better than ever.

Second, the NBA needs healthy players. Increased availability and access to biometric data mean teams now have a better understanding of what players need rest and when. Rest comes prior to injury, not following. And numerous medical studies show that cutting activity is not the same as taking a day off. Physiologically, a days rest is healthy and sometimes necessary.

Third, it may be unfair to fans if they are forced to miss LeBron James or Steph Curry. But nobody is making them go to games. They get no guarantee. What if James plays and is hurt in the first minute of the game, missing the remaining 47 minutes? Is that really different? Plus, on Seat Geek you can get a ticket for Warriors vs. Cavs on March 29th for $74. Not a pittance, but reasonable.

Finally, the NBA is understandably concerned with the business side of this practice. Resting stars means lower television ratings. Lower television ratings means fewer advertising dollars. Fewer advertising dollars means less money for the network to purchase NBA rights. Which means less money for the NBA. Except teams have been resting players for yearsratings are up, and the league just signed a record TV deal a year ago.

The NBA can worry about its business partners, the fans, and perception of the league, but these troubles ring hollow. The league is healthier than it has ever been because the product is as good as it has ever been. The “solution” to this rest problem is apparently to change the product?

Coaches and players want to win. Fans want them to win. Winning creates revenue. Rest helps them win.

“Problem” solved.

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NFL Free Agency: The QB Security Dilemma

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This is not a political article. This is not a political science article. But in order to provide a roadmap for this post, let me start with a a political science concept, the security dilemma.

This term was coined in 1951 by John Herz in his book Political Realism and Political Idealism. Herz describes the security dilemma as

a structural notion in which the self-help attempts of states to look after their security needs tend, regardless of intention, to lead to rising insecurity for others as each interprets its own measures as defensive and measures of others as potentially threatening.

In short, the security dilemma characterizes a spiral of insecurity. Keep this in mind as we advance now to NFL free agency.

The first day of NFL free agency saw the Chicago Bears sign Mike Glennon to a contract worth $43.5 million over three years. Mike Glennon, who has started a total of 18 games in his NFL career, not one since 2014. Mike Glennon, who has attempted 11 regular season passes since 2014. Mike Glennon, who when given a chance to start in 2014 was average at best.

On its face, this contract would appear to be a classic case of a team overpaying in free agency out of sheer desperation, bidding against themselves. Never mind that the contract only provides $19 million in guaranteed money, $16.5 million of which is in 2017. Or that the deal provides Glennon is only the 23rd highest-paid quarterback for 2017 and is less than 10 percent of the salary cap.

Bears General Manager Ryan Pace also made it clear that Glennon was signed to be the team’s starting quarterback.

To be fair, amidst the overriding criticism, some have pointed out that given the short-term obligation, the abysmal QB class in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the simple fact that the Bears need a quarterback, the signing really isn’t that bad.

But even if the Glennon signing isn’t bad, it’s symptomatic of a larger problem.

QB play in the NFL is bad. The numbers actually say QB is as good as it has ever been, but just watch the games. Name more than a dozen quarterbacks you would feel confident having as the starter for your favorite team. Mike Glennon certainly does not rank among them.

While there are historically-good QBs currently playing the the NFL (Brady, Brees, Rodgers), the heights achieved by these few are seemingly dragged down by the mediocrity of others. While some point to an overall lack of QB talent, others argue talent is not the culprit but rather a failure to develop talent.

This failure to develop QB talent is rooted in a vicious cycle of expectations.

Returning to political science for a moment, think way back to the beginning of this post. The security dilemma results when the attempts of one state to increase its security leads another state to feel threatened. As a result, this state takes measures to increase its own security. This causes the first state to once again feel threatened, leading to further efforts to increase security. And so on and so on.

Insecurity rooted in an expectation of security.

The NFL is a QB-driven league. It is the most important position on the field. If a team wants to win the Super Bowl, they need an elite quarterback. This point has been argued, and there are exceptions, but what is most important is that NFL teams believe it to be so.

Teams routinely reach for QBs in the draft. They overpay for QBs in free agency. This hurts teams and the quarterbacks.

Teams which draft a quarterback with an early pick feel pressure to play that quarterback right away, whether or not he is actually ready to play. And those teams are usually bad. There is little talent surrounding the inexperienced quarterback, providing little assistance to a player which needs it. Assistance which may have been had if the team hadn’t overdrafted the quarterback.

This has ruined many young quarterbacks.

The team remains bad. They overpay to sign a quarterback in free agency. This comes with expectations. And an inability to spend that money on other players. Even if Mike Glennon is a slightly above-average QB next year, despite playing with inferior talent surrounding him, making $16.5 million creates anticipation for better among fans, perhaps even the team. If Glennon does not meet those expectations, do the Bears cut bait and try again with a different quarterback in 2018? What would this do for team continuity and development?

The Bears need a quarterback. Many NFL teams need a quarterback, and that’s the problem. If the Bears didn’t sign Mike Glennon some other team would have given him a chance to start. If the Browns or 49ers don’t reach for a quarterback in the Draft, someone else will. It’s the nature of the NFL. There is a dearth of quality quarterbacks in the NFL. NFL front offices are chasing after the bad decisions of other teams. A vicious cycle.

Will the Bears still need a quarterback in 2018? Maybe. But Glennon is worth a shot at $19 million. Just hope Ryan Pace holds himself to his own standards.

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The Missing Point of NFL TV Ratings: Why Watch the Extra Point?

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Television ratings for live sports have been suffering.

Local NBA ratings are down 15% from last season. NASCAR has seen a precipitous ratings decline over the past decade. Ratings for the World Series were through the roof, but total MLB viewership is declining. Even the almighty NFL is not immune, losing viewers in every demographic.

And the sports leagues are not taking this development laying down. NASCAR has once again changed format in order lure back viewers. MLB is instituting numerous rule changes in order to hasten the pace of play. The NBA is mulling rule changes which they feel may present a better on-court product for consumers. The NFL is also attempting to quicken the pace of play while also trying to put the “fun” back in the league.

The leagues may also be open to minimally cutting revenue via shorter commercial breaks in order to boost their ratings.

Rule changes previously instituted by the sports leagues reflect these declining ratings, but they may also contribute to them. Many sports fans complain they simply no longer recognize their favorite sport(s). They don’t watch because the game has changed.

Many of these modifications have been due to concerns of player safety and the integrity of the game. Others are to improve competitiveness.

One such change was the NFL moving the extra point attempt from the 2-yard-line to the 15-yard-line. Originally a one year experiment, the NFL deemed this move a success following the 2015-16 season and made it permanent. This despite a drop in success rate from 99.3% in 2014 to 94.2% in 2015.

The 2016 season wasn’t much better, which included a Sunday with an NFL-record 12 missed extra points.

Something has to change. Not because the extra point attempt is still too easy. Not because it’s only a half-measure,  as some have argued. Not because it hasn’t really changed the calculus all that much.

The problem with the extra point is really none of these things. These aspects play into the continuing problem of the extra point attempt, but the ultimate problem is much more basic and goes directly to the problem of declining ratings.

I don’t want to watch extra points.

Before the attempt was moved back, when the success rate was almost 100%, that was fine. I didn’t want to watch the extra point. I still don’t even if the success rate has dropped by 5 percentage points.

There is the odd blocked extra point which adds some intrigue but it’s not frequent and it’s not interesting enough for me to want to stick around for the attempt. I want to change the channel if I’m watching live. If I’m not watching live, if I recorded the game, then I will simply fast forward through the attempt.

An extra point is simply not exciting. It’s not interesting. I don’t want to watch, so I don’t. If an extra point was missed, either due to an errant kick or an opposing block, okay. Still doesn’t interest me.

It’s easy to say, “well then don’t watch”. “Nobody is forcing you watch the extra point”.  But the problem is that occasionally, very rarely, but occasionally extra points matter.

Stephen Gostowski’s missed extra point in the Super Bowl changed the game. As the New England Patriots mounted their extraordinary comeback towards the end of the game that missing point fundamentally altered how they played. It changed what plays they had to call. The calculus of the game was different based solely on that one missed extra point.

That missed extra point put the outcome of the game in further jeopardy for the Patriots and perhaps made for a more exciting and interesting game, but in retrospect that’s only a good thing because the Patriots comeback was successful. If the Atlanta Falcons retained their lead and won the game that missed extra point would have been simply that, another missed extra point.

But in either case, did I need to see that attempt? Even considering the Patriots won the game, despite that missing point, I didn’t need to see the miss. The score reflects that Gostkowski missed, whether or not I watched him miss.

Make or miss, I don’t want to see it. And I don’t. That’s the fundamental problem.

I’m not advocating getting rid of the extra point or any other rule change, even though it does seem like the NFL wants to eliminate kickers altogether. I’m simply saying I don’t want to watch extra points.

Move the attempt back to the 25-yard-line. Make it more difficult to successfully complete. I don’t want to watch that.

In 2016 the success rate of field goals from 40-49 yards was just over 75%. You want to watch kickers miss almost a quarter of their extra point attempts? I don’t.

The problem with the extra point is that it’s fundamentally broken. One point is not worth my time or attention. I don’t have the patience. Maybe that’s my issue, but it’s also the NFL’s problem because it means I’m not watching. And the NFL can’t make me watch, no matter how hard they try to make the extra point more interesting/exciting/competitive.

The extra point has one essential problem: I don’t care. So why watch?

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Steve Young doesn’t like football or watch games, and That’s Fine

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Steve Young is a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, a Super Bowl champion, an inductee to the Pro Hall of Fame and currently a football analyst for ESPN. Except apparently, he doesn’t really like football anymore.

Last week Bloomberg published a story about Young entitled Steve Young is an Athlete Who’s Actually Good at Finance. The story is ostensibly about Young’s efforts to establish a life for himself after football and how he has managed to become very successful in this endeavor where many others have failed. However, that message tends to get lost when snippets such as this are included:

Young says he may have quit ESPN years ago if not for his private equity partners, who like him to keep a high profile. When he works a Monday Night game for the network, he spends no more than an hour or two at the stadium preparing his commentary, he says; the rest of the time, he’s holed up in HGGC’s suite, cramming for deals. Once the game starts, he barely watches the action. A couple of transactions, he notes, have even been agreed to with handshakes in the suites.

“My wife hates football, and my kids don’t really care,” Young says. “I see myself as a deal guy first. I’ve put football behind me. Roger Staubach once told me—and I’ll never forget it: ‘When you retire, run. Never look back.’ ”

This is obviously a bad look for Young as well as ESPN. The above quote makes it sound as though Young isn’t invested in football or his job at ESPN beyond what it gains him in his other job. And ESPN is made to look as if they are employing someone, a very visible member of their Monday Night Football crew, who isn’t really doing their job.

So of course ESPN sent Young to do damage control. Via Awful Announcing:

“I participated in this story to encourage athletes to think about their futures because I want to inspire them to think this way. I have worked hard to build an expertise in two different fields, and I am proud of that. I have built one over the course of 35 years as a football player and analyst. The other, in private equity, I’ve established over 18 years. I’m focused on being excellent at both — and without sacrificing one for the other,” Young said. “Staying connected to the game and working for ESPN are very meaningful to me. In no way did I intend to suggest otherwise.”

ESPN senior vice president of events  and studio production Stephanie Druley also noted that Young “watches games, actively participates in production meetings and contributes weekly analysis to our studio shows using a camera that ESPN installed in his office.”

Except games he attends, evidently.

If football has become secondary to Young in his post-NFL life, that’s fine. If ESPN has no qualms about how Young goes about his job, that’s fine. Steve Young probably knows enough about football to analyze games and provide intelligent commentary without giving his full attention.

Many sports fans are intelligent enough to realize that national sports commentators don’t really watch or pay attention to their local team(s) on a daily or even weekly basis. They watch a game or two to prepare for a game they’re calling, speak to a coach and some players, read some recent headlines and say whatever comes to mind. They’re subject experts, not experts on particular teams.

They can comment on generalities but when attempting to provide analysis of the situation with a specific team they will often get things wrong or provide odd interpretations of events simply because they’re not around the team on a daily basis. And that’s fine.

Young said what he said and no amount of damage control will change that fact. Just don’t pretend it doesn’t mean what it obviously does. It only calls more attention to the fact that ESPN doesn’t want everyone knowing Steve Young, NFL commentator, doesn’t really pay much attention to the NFL or put much thought into his commentary.

As long as ESPN believes Young is doing his job, Young is putting forth enough Ieffort to make ESPN happy and Young doesn’t turn into Phil Simms, it’s fine.

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NBA coaches React to the Election of Donald Trump

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The NBA is socially progressive. Commissioner Adam Silver is not particularly concerned with marijuana use among players. He has called for the legalization of sports betting. The NBA made the decision to pull the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, NC due to North Carolina’s controversial HB2 law which discriminates against LGBTQ individuals. In making this decision the NBA stated that their decision was “guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view”. In the wake of the recent presidential election Adam Silver sent a memo to NBA offices worldwide “to reiterate to NBA employees that the league’s core values and commitment to equality and diversity haven’t changed”. And Silver has publicly stressed that he encourages players talking openly about and taking stands on social issues in a respectful manner, that NBA players have the opportunity to make a difference in society.

Many NBA players have taken advantage of this message of social responsibility. NBA players wore “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts before games in order to protest the treatment of blacks by law enforcement. Following the death of his cousin resulting from gun violence in Chicago, Dwyane Wade made numerous statements and gave interviews to major news outlets condemning the rampant violence in the city and declaring something had to be done. Jabari Parker authored an article in The Player’s Tribune speaking about his experiences growing up in Chicago and having to deal with the gun violence which encapsulated his neighborhood. Numerous teams and individual players have taken steps towards bringing awareness to issues of social justice and social inequality. Meeting with politicians and city leadersDonating their time and money. Making public appearances and public statements in attempts to use their platform in order to make a difference in society.

This extends to NBA coaches. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has given multiple statements related to societal issues. Multiple coaches came out in support of the NFL national anthem protests and have declared that they support peaceful protests, further urging those who protest to put action behind it. They spoke out against Donald Trump and his characterization of sexism and misogyny as “locker room talk”. They had also declared Trump’s rhetoric to be both racist and homophobic. And now that Donald Trump has been elected the future president of the United States, an outcome many within the NBA did not support, head coaches are once again speaking out.

Detroit Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations let his feelings regarding Donald Trump’s election be known in a five-plus minute diatribe to reporters. In this statement Van Gundy eviscerated Donald Trump and his supporters, declaring that,

“We just elected an openly, brazen misogynist leader and we should keep our mouths shut and realize that we need to be learning maybe from the rest of the world, because we don’t got anything to teach anybody.

“It’s embarrassing. I have been ashamed of a lot of things that have happened in this country, but I can’t say I’ve ever been ashamed of our country until today. Until today. We all have to find our way to move forward, but that was — and I’m not even trying to make a political statement. To me, that’s beyond politics.”

Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors, was similarly outraged by the election of Trump. Kerr stated that,

“It’s tough when you want there to be some respect and dignity and there hasn’t been any. And then you walk into a room with your daughter and your wife, who’ve basically been insulted by (Trump’s) comments, and they’re distraught. And you walk in and you see the faces of your players, most of them who have been insulted directly as minorities, it’s sort of shocking. It really is. We talked about it as a team this morning. I don’t know what else to say. Just the whole process has left all of us feeling kind of disgusted and disappointed. I thought we were better than this. I thought The Jerry Springer Show was The Jerry Springer Show … This is a presidential election. It’s not The Jerry Springer Show. I’m sorry. This is my rant. I’m disappointed in the lack of respect and dignity that’s involved, and that’s the way it goes.”

Finally, Gregg Popovich was asked his opinion of Donald Trump’s victory. Donald Trump is a subject which Popovich has previously broached, and not in a complimentary manner. But Popovich is known to be both thoughtful and straight-forward in his comments on social and political issues. He does not make a statement without a measured and reasoned opinion. So what did he have to say about the presidential election?

“Right now I’m just trying to formulate thoughts. It’s too early. I’m just sick to my stomach. Not basically because the Republicans won or anything, but the disgusting tenor and tone and all of the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic.

“I live in that country where half of the people ignored all of that to elect someone. That’s the scariest part of the whole thing to me. It’s got nothing to do with the environment and Obamacare, and all of the other stuff. We live in a country that ignored all of those values that we would hold our kids accountable for. They’d be grounded for years if they acted and said the things that have been said in that campaign by Donald Trump.”

Two things are particularly noteworthy about these statements. First, it would appear these coaches have been emboldened by the NBA to make such statements. In fact, Rick Carlisle, the president of the NBA Coaches’ Association, commented on these statements by saying,

“NBA coaches are passionate about our country, league and players being represented in the right way and by leaders who value diversity, equality and women. We should not tolerate xenophobic, homophobic, racist and misogynistic talk from a person recently elected president. And I am proud that my colleagues are speaking up.”

Second, it is head coaches making these statements. As pointed out by Gregg Popovich, white, rich head coaches. While many NBA players have made their feelings about the outcome of the presidential election known, and they are similar to the statements above, they almost carry less weight. These head coaches have more in common with Donald Trump than they do with their players in some cases, yet they still speak out. It’s not simply because they must interact with socially progressive players on a daily basis. Coaches in other professional sports leagues have not made similar statements. NBA head coaches are speaking out because they feel it is necessary, and because they can.

That makes their statements that much more powerful.

Doubting Theo

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Last season the Chicago Cubs made it to the National League Championship Series before losing to the New York Mets. In 2016 the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in extra innings in Game 7 of the World Series. It is the first World Series victory for the Cubs since 1908. 23 of the 25 players on the World Series roster were acquired by Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein.

The World Series victory is not only the end of 108 years of futility but also the culmination of five years of rebuilding under Epstein. When Epstein was hired in 2011 he pledged to change the culture, build the best baseball operation possible, and create the foundation for long-term success. Epstein knew that it was not necessarily the best baseball team who wins the World Series, so in order to win you must make sure you get as many chances as possible. It’s not the team that makes the playoffs once on the back of a great run that will win the World Series (at least not usually), it is the team that consistently makes the playoffs and gets multiple shots at the title. Then the Cubs won the World Series on their first try in 108 years. Because they were the best team, in the regular season and the playoffs.

Now everyone is forced to believe in what Theo Epstein has built, but that was not always the case. Many, many people doubted Theo.

Yes.
Why, indeed?
So wrong. So consistently, stubbornly, angrily wrong.
 We may have a winner …
Someone is obsessed with the deal Lester signed.
Care to reconsider?
It’s easy in hindsight to say basically every move Theo Epstein has made since coming to the Cubs has worked out. Because it has. And it’s easy to criticize moves that look insignificant or unpopular when they happen. Especially when Theo Epstein trades established MLB players for prospects or highly-rated prospects for unproven players. When the Cubs hired Theo Epstein the thought was the Cubs were finally going to win. Theo Epstein finally brought a World Series championship to Boston, surely he can do the same for the Chicago Cubs. Why hire him if you’re not trying to win?
But that’s the key. Theo Epstein and the rest of the Cubs front office spelled it out from day one and never lied about it and never strayed from that plan. Those first few years the Cubs weren’t trying to win. They were trying to be bad. They wanted high draft picks so they could stockpile talent. They wanted to get rid of mediocre-to-average MLB players who wouldn’t make any difference on a World Series-caliber team and turn them into young players who would be better and would be on a championship team. And because they were trying to be bad and build for the future they weren’t going to throw bad money at free agents who could maybe lift the Cubs from bad to mediocre. The Cubs didn’t want to pay players now for a team trying to be good later and the Cubs didn’t want to be mediocre. They wanted to be bad. Until it was time for them to be good.
In 2015 it was time for the Cubs to be good. They won 97 games and made it to the NLCS. When nobody expected it. Including the Cubs. The team paid for the manager, paid for the pitching and many of their top prospects made it to the major leagues, but it was just too soon. Except the young players hit and the pitchers the Cubs signed in free agency were tremendous. Until they were outpitched in the NLCS by the Mets. The Mets were the better team in that series, so the Cubs lost. But then most everyone knew the Cubs not only were good but were going to be good for years. They were the favorites for 2016.
They were the favorites for the entirety of the 2016 season. The Cubs were the best team in MLB for the entirety of the 2016 season. They won 103 games. They were the favorites entering the playoffs. They were the favorites entering the World Series. Until they were down 3-1. Then they won 2 games. 3-3. They were up in the 8th inning of Game 7 in Cleveland, until the Indians tied the game. Tied heading into extra innings. Tied following a 17 minute rain delay. Up 8-6 after the top of the 10th. Up 8-7 with two outs in the bottom of the 10th and a man on 1st. World Series champions after a groundout to third, a perfect throw from Kris Bryant to Anthony Rizzo to record the final out.
It’s easy to criticize Theo Epstein when you aren’t paying attention. Everyone is paying attention now.
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New Details Clearly Demonstrate Baylor believes Sports is More Important than Rape

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The Pepper Hamilton report on Baylor University’s “fundamental failure to implement Title IX” found damning evidence against senior leadership at the school. The report found that Baylor University failed at every level to take seriously the problem of sexual assault and lacked consistent or meaningful engagement in the University’s Title IX functions. These problems were particularly acute in the athletics department, which was given free reign by Baylor’s top administrators to handle student misconduct as they saw fit. This meant athletics and football staff were able to cover up reports of sexual violence. When athletics and football did respond to such reports it was internally, away from the student misconduct processes (Title IX) which applied to the rest of the student body. This meant these cases were not adequately investigated, did not result in any real discipline against alleged perpetrators, and discouraged alleged victims from reporting sexual assaults. When investigations did occur they were botched and when victims did come forward they were intimidated into not reporting the assault to the University. This created a permissive environment for sexual assault within the football program and contributed to an unsafe campus environment for the rest of the student body.

Amid this scandal this senior leadership lost their jobs. This included head football coach Art Briles. Briles maintained he had never done anything wrong. He claimed he was(is) a scapegoat for the University. That is until his public apology tour in which he acknowledged some bad things had happened during his tenure and said he had to “get better”. Yet still didn’t really apologize. Which was a theme. It was recently reported that Briles admitted he set up a reporting system in which he would have been the last to know about any reports of sexual assault. But Briles probably rightfully believed that despite the report, despite the allegations, despite his alleged role in permitting his football players to get away sexual assault.

Until now. New details have begun to emerge on the findings of the investigation which paint Art Briles and Baylor University in an even worse light, if that’s possible. It has now been reported that this scandal “involved 17 women who reported sexual or domestic assaults involving 19 players, including four alleged gang rapes, since 2011”. Including once instance where Art Briles was informed of a gang rape and failed to report it. Another report from Showtime’s 60 Minute Sports has revealed further details regarding “Baylor’s failures to handle reports of sexual assault, especially (although not exclusively) those involving football players.”

The report details and provides more insight into some issues which have previously been covered. For example, how Baylor offered its former Title IX coordinator a $1.5 million settlement following her resignation as part of a non-disclosure agreement. She resigned due to what she viewed as “active subterfuge” by school administrators against her efforts to comply to Title IX regulations as well as retaliation against her for those efforts. As it turns out, according to 60 Minutes Sports this act of retaliation was commonplace against employees  who attempted to notify the University about sexual assaults. Also, when reports of the sexual assaults were given to police those reports subsequently became unavailable to the Title IX coordinator and were ignored by the police.

The picture which continues to emerge is one of a systematic attempt to cover up sexual assaults by Baylor University, one of the primary beneficiaries being the Baylor University football program, even as other athletic programs were harmed. Baylor is obviously not the first nor will it be the last university to skirt the law in order to benefit its athletics. Baylor is also not the only university to be recently caught in a sex scandal. But Baylor has been perhaps the most blatant in its continuing efforts to obscure the truth and its culpability in these sexual assaults. At one point it was even considered if Art Briles could be rehired. Because football is important.

60 Minutes Sports spoke with Baylor regent Dr. Neal Jeffrey, who also played quarterback for Baylor in the 1970s. Jeffrey was asked how much of the University’s response to the report as well as subsequent actions have been driven by attempts to protect the football program.

“Art, in one sense, had us where we’ve never been before, and we were winning and things were awesome,” Jeffrey said. “And I think our main problem was it’s—it’s hard to mess up awesome.”