Big 12 calls for release of all Baylor investigation information

Dr. Saturday

UPDATE: 4:15 p.m. ET

Baylor's president said he wants to meet with Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in the wake of the conference's request for the release of the full findings of the Pepper Hamilton independent investgation.

Here's the full text of a statement from the university given to the Austin American-Statesman:

“Interim President David Garland received the letter from Commissioner Bowlsby and has contacted the Commissioner to acknowledge receipt of his letter. Baylor is reviewing the Big 12’s request for additional information in light of Baylor’s obligations under federal privacy law and the commitment of confidentiality to the brave survivors who shared their experiences to help the University better understand its shortcomings. President Garland will seek an opportunity to sit down with Commissioner Bowlsby to personally discuss the investigation and the Big 12’s requests. 

Dr. Garland would like to reiterate that the Findings of Fact fully reflect the themes, core findings and failings identified in the investigation – while omitting the documentation of individual cases and names supporting these findings.  Baylor’s Board of Regents chose to publicly release severely critical Findings of Fact because it believes it is in the best interest of the Baylor community to do so, regardless of the impact on current or potential civil litigation or regulatory action. The University self-reported to its community and the NCAA and will maintain normal communication with the Big 12 Conference during the course of the NCAA investigation. 

Baylor remains confident in the actions it has taken to ensure improvement in student safety and to help restore confidence that its priorities and values remain in the proper order. We hope to not only apply what we learn and to approach the highest levels of prevention, response and support for students impacted by these acts, but also to share what we learn with other higher education institutions for the benefit of students everywhere.”

The Big 12 wants Baylor to be fully transparent regarding the independent investigation into the school's handling of sexual assault investigations.

The conference released a statement Wednesday saying it was "gravely and deeply concerned by media reports" regarding what transpired at Baylor. Those media reports have largely been based on the release of the Pepper Hamilton law firm's findings.

However, the full release of those findings, as well as more detailed allegations, have not been released. Baylor fired former football coach Art Briles the day a statement regarding the findings was released and president and chancellor Ken Starr was removed from his position as president and resigned from his chancellor post.

Here's the Big 12's statement in full and note that the conference made a private request a month agol:

The Big 12 Board of Directors is gravely and deeply concerned by media reports about activities involving the athletics program at Baylor University. On May 24, 2016, the Big 12 Board requested a full accounting of the circumstances surrounding the sexual assaults at the University. At this time the Board is only privy to information that has been made available to the public.

Today, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby sent a letter to Baylor University Interim President David Garland once again requesting all documents associated with the investigations of sexual assaults at Baylor. This request is for written materials as well as any information that has been conveyed orally to University leadership or to its Board of Regents including, but not limited to, the unedited written or verbal information from Pepper Hamilton, omitting only the names of any involved students. Internal documents pertinent to the investigation have also been requested.

Because many of the incidents at Baylor reportedly involve student-athletes, the Conference is appropriately concerned with discovery of the facts. The Big 12 is primarily configured to facilitate fair competition among its members and compliance to the rules of both the Conference and NCAA. To that end, full disclosure is vital to assess the impact on the Big 12.

"All of our member universities consider student safety and security to be paramount among institutional responsibilities," said Bowlsby. "The Big 12 Board of Directors, each member of the Conference and its student-athletes want to convey that our thoughts, concerns and sympathies are with the Baylor survivors and their families."

You'll also note that the Big 12 does not threaten any consequences for Baylor if it does not release the full information. It's unclear what the conference could do, if anything, to get Baylor to comply with its request.

An associate athletic director for the school has said the full findings of the report would likely not be released because of privacy concerns. The school's alumni association has previously requested the full findings be released.

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The school, one of two private schools in the Big 12 along with TCU, has previously cited privacy concerns in regards to the release of sexual assault records. The Texas Attorney General's office has said the school must comply with a new state law that mandates private schools comply with public information guidelines; though Baylor has said much of the records need to be withheld because of federal privacy laws.

Briles was fired as the 13-page summary released to the public noted how members of the football program acted inappropriately regarding discipline and allegations of sexual assault. Starr, who was emailed by a woman who said she was raped at Baylor, claimed to have no knowledge of any on-campus allegations during his time as president, though he later embarrassed himself while backtracking from that claim in an interview.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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