You may have heard that Baylor University is under investigation by the Office of Civil Rights within the US Department of Education. Several Baylor football players have been convicted of rape in recent years. The coach and University President were forced to step down, and the Title IX coordinator quit, claiming that she was retaliated against for trying to protect students.
You expect loyal alumni to defend the school, perhaps even to get hostile about the complaints. But last weekend, this is what Kim Mulkey, Baylor’s women’s basketball coach had to say on the court after a game: “If somebody is around you and they ever say, ‘I will never send my daughter to Baylor,’ you should knock them right in the face.”
In the post-game conference, she added, that she was “tired of hearing about it.” She said people should “move on, find another story to write.”
Wow. And people wonder why students don’t come forward as soon as they are assaulted, bullied or abused. It’s bad enough to be faced with the suspicions of your classmates, sports fans, and alumni. But most parents expect and have the right to expect, that a coach will treat their daughter or son with care and respect.
Sure, Mulkey’s comments were directed at parents and the press. But the students who came forward understand the message very well. This story should not be told. Now that you did tell it, just “move on.” It’s a threat against any other student who may get assaulted. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t upset the image of our perfect school that you are so lucky to get to attend.
Mulkey has now, predictably, apologized and said she takes complaints about sexual assault seriously. But the message was clear, and apologies later don’t wipe away the threat.
The Title IX investigation doesn’t seem to be hurting the Lady Bears’ ability to attract top talent. They are ranked second in the nation as of this writing, only losing two games this season. But number two is not number one, and perhaps Mulkey is trying to distract from her real struggle, the fact that her team can’t figure out how to eclipse UConn.