Ian McCaw, former Baylor athletic director, alleged that a conspiracy at the university’s “highest level” planned to focus the school’s sexual assault scandal on athletics, according to court documents filed Wednesday in an ongoing Title IX lawsuit against the school, ESPN reported.
The story said McCaw claimed there was a decades-long problem at the university of mishandling rape reports.
In the documents, McCaw claimed there was “an elaborate plan that essentially scapegoated the black football players and the football program for being responsible for what was a decades-long, university-wide sexual assault scandal and go directly to the pattern of conduct that created a heightened risk to plaintiffs and other Baylor female students.”
McCaw said in his deposition that top leaders, consultants, attorneys and the school’s public relations firm worked to put all the blame on athletics — specifically football — while working to cover up failures across campus, including those of the regents themselves.
ESPN tried to contact McCaw, but said he did not respond to a voice mail message.
In May 2016, the school released a summary report of Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton’s review of Baylor’s handling of sexual assault and domestic violence cases, which included a section on failures within the football program to properly respond.
In the wake of that report, football coach Art Briles was fired and former president Kenneth Starr, who later resigned, was demoted.
McCaw, who was suspended as a result of the investigation, resigned as athletic director in May 2016 but stayed on in a non-administrative role at Baylor until November 2016, when he left to become athletic director at Liberty University.
“Although urged to remain, McCaw refused to continue on as Baylor Athletic Director because he ‘was disgusted at that point with the regents, the racism, the phony finding of fact’ and because he ‘did not want to be part of some Enron cover-up scheme,'” the motion states.
The motion claims the motive behind pinning the blame solely on football and covering the broader failures, was, according to McCaw, because: “It’s bad for business…It’s bad for Baylor’s brand, bad for admission, bad for tuition revenue.”
Baylor University released a statement Wednesday in response to the motion containing McCaw’s quotes, which read in part: “The plaintiffs’ counsel have grossly mischaracterized facts to promote a misleading narrative in an effort to deflect attention away from the actual facts of the case pending before the court … We will maintain our diligent efforts to keep discovery focused on this specific case while steadfastly protecting the privacy of our students and their records that are uninvolved in this matter.”
Before the university releasing its summary report in May 2016, the motion states that a Pepper Hamilton attorney told McCaw that their final work product would be up to the regents, who “may want a detailed document. They may want a summary report, or they may ask us (Pepper Hamilton) to whitewash the whole thing.”
The motion filed Wednesday was part of a Title IX lawsuit filed in June 2016 on behalf of 10 women — including one who reported being raped by a football player. Attorneys for the women have gone back and forth with Baylor attorneys over the past several months about providing records, accusing the university of failing to be transparent.
It is one of six ongoing Title IX lawsuits against the school.
Criminal charges are pending against three former Baylor football players accused of sexual assault.
Earlier this month, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reinstated the sexual assault conviction of former Baylor football player Samuel Ukwuachu by overturning a lower court’s ruling to grant him a new trial based on evidence not admitted during his initial trial.