Defensive tackle Jeremy Faulk landed at Baylor in January after previously playing at Florida Atlantic and Garden City Community College but told ESPN’s Outside the Lines he is no longer part of the team because of an allegation of sexual assault. Faulk, who participated in spring practice, told OTL he was questioned on June 1 about an alleged April incident said to have occurred on Baylor’s campus. He was also queried about another incident from his time at FAU.
No charges were filed in either case and Faulk denies the April allegation. One of Faulk’s former coaches, Jeff Sims, is not pleased with the way Faulk was removed from the team, including the involvement of new acting head coach Jim Grobe.
Faulk told Outside the Lines that he was questioned by Baylor coaches on June 1 about an incident he was involved in at Florida Atlantic. He said he was also questioned about an alleged sexual assault that may have occurred in April on the Baylor campus, when he was on the Baylor team. No charges were filed in either case; Faulk, who denies sexually assaulting anyone, said he's never been asked by police to discuss the alleged April incident.
Faulk's departure has angered Jeff Sims, a former assistant at Florida Atlantic and the former head coach at Garden City. Sims, who coached Faulk at both schools, says Baylor is trying to rid itself of anyone who has had an allegation made against him, true or not. And he's disturbed by something he said new Baylor interim coach Jim Grobe told him when he called to ask why Faulk's status on the team was in jeopardy over the alleged April incident.
"Grobe says to me, 'Listen, if he just leaves, he can go on, and we won't stop him from playing anywhere, and this investigation will stop.'" Flabbergasted at the notion a sexual assault investigation might disappear if an accused player were to leave the team, Sims said he pressed Grobe, but Grobe struggled to be more specific before implying that Baylor administrators had made him remove the player from the team.
A Baylor spokesperson told OTL that Grobe "has a different recollection of the conversation," and "has made clear that his standards emphasize accountability, integrity and character - for the entire program."
As a result of the investigation into the school’s handling of a bevy of sexual assault allegations, several top Baylor officials – including president Ken Starr, athletic director Ian McCaw and head coach Art Briles – are no longer with the school. Part of the investigation, completed by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, detailed the school’s lack of background checks on potential transfer athletes.
The school told OTL it is now reviewing transfers with an increased level of scrutiny.
A Baylor spokeswoman told Outside the Lines the university is reviewing the backgrounds of all incoming athletes who have transferred to the school from other athletic programs.
The Baylor spokeswoman told Outside the Lines that its reviews of athletes include "pertinent documents from their previous institutions, which should detail any disciplinary actions. Once these records are received, they are used to inform our decisions related to these student-athletes becoming members of Baylor's athletic teams."
In Faulk’s case, things seem muddy. In regards to the alleged April incident, Faulk said he was called into an office with defensive assistant coaches on May 31 and questioned “about what happened between him, another player and a female student who had come over to their apartment after a party in mid-April.” The woman reported that she had consensual sex with one of the players, but sex with the other player was not consensual. Faulk says the sex was consensual.
When reached by Outside the Lines, the woman involved disputed Faulk’s account. From OTL:
Faulk told Outside the Lines that he had exchanged a few text messages with the woman a couple days after the encounter, messages he described as being "random conversation." He said he's trying to retrieve those messages. He provided her name and number to Outside the Lines and said she would corroborate his story.
But when Outside the Lines reached her Thursday, she did not verify his account and instead said that Faulk and the other player "forced me to do things that I didn't want to do against my own consent." She declined to go into any further detail about what happened. She said Faulk texted her a few days later and asked to see her again, and she declined. She said she texted him one more time to inquire about his sexual medical history, and he did not respond.
The woman reported the alleged assault May 5 but told police that she did not want to press charges. She said someone from Baylor's Title IX office contacted her, and she met with someone a few weeks ago, but she didn't want an investigation; she said officials told her they had to do a preliminary investigation regardless. She said she is in counseling but is worried about retaliation and wants to move on.
The other player involved, reportedly Branton Autry, another JUCO transfer, has since left the team. Faulk said the other player wanted to transfer after Briles was fired and Baylor officials confirmed this week that he left the team and withdrew from school.
Faulk said he was again called to speak with coaches on June 1. This time they asked him about the report of an incident at Florida Atlantic in which campus police were called.
He said that while he was there, he and a friend got in trouble after they burst open the door to a teammate's room and teased him and his girlfriend -- who were both naked in bed -- and threatened to pull off the sheets. Campus police were called, but no criminal charges were filed. Outside the Lines obtained the police report Thursday; the description of the "suspicious incident" on Nov. 3, 2013, matches Faulk's account.
Because Faulk was named in the two incidents, Sims said Grobe told him the school had to let Faulk go.
Faulk said the school was not forthright about what was going on.
The circumstances of Faulk's departure from the team and school are unclear: Faulk told Outside the Lines that he was initially told he was expelled from the university. Baylor officials would only confirm to Outside the Lines that he is no longer enrolled in school. Faulk provided to Outside the Lines an email from a Baylor academic support official sent Tuesday morning stating that his withdrawal had been finalized, but Faulk said he never asked to withdraw from school.
Outside the Lines reviewed Faulk's emails, which showed that the same morning he had received the email telling him his withdrawal from the university was final, he received another from the athletic department compliance office saying there "is not a Title IX report at Baylor" involving him. Faulk responded a few hours later by sending an email requesting a hearing and a chance to defend himself anyway. Only then did the Title IX office send him -- two hours later -- an email stating he'd been named as a respondent in a case and had been accused of violating the school's sexual discrimination, violence and harassment policy. The email provided no further details of an incident.
"No one's given me a reason why I've been released," Faulk said. "If I just leave, it will look like I'm guilty, and I didn't do anything."
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