The Big 12’s Big Problem
May 30, 2016 by Jean Neuberger • Print Story •
Time has run out on the Big 12 Conference.
This is not about realignment, to an extent. This is not about reaching the playoffs or anything like that.
The time is now for the Big 12 to take the toughest stand yet on morality and integrity.
Since the start of the new century, two of the three most horrifying revelations into a NCAA program have happened on the Baylor campus. The murder of Patrick Dennehy by his own teammate, followed by the disgusting cover-up job done by then-coach Dave Bliss, was incomprehensible. Now we have a cover-up of sexual assaults that simply destroys every inch of moral fiber that Baylor once held. A program, determined to win at any cost, set a price so high that its once celebrated coach is now unemployed. Its image is ruined; its reputation tattered like a flag in a hurricane.
The NCAA shouldn't step into this mess. After all, given Miami, Southern Cal, Penn State, and the ongoing fiasco at North Carolina, the NCAA has proven it is unable to handle situations as atrocious as this one; let alone simpler ones.
However, the Big 12 should do something. They should hold Baylor's feet to the fire. All punishments, including kicking the Bears out of the conference, should be in play. The conference, for its own sake, must show strength to not only stay alive but set new standards for the collegiate experience.
Why should the Big 12 act now? Simple. If they don't, there's always the dilemma at Oklahoma that could cause the conference its demise.
Bob Stoops should be sweating a little bit, given the current swing of the barometer. It was Stoops that allowed Dorial Green-Beckham to transfer to Oklahoma, despite having an abusive history during his time at Missouri. And it is Stoops that kept Joe Mixon in the Sooner football program, despite the knowledge of a video that many have tried to keep private for over two years. Sure, Mixon served a year suspension. However, the word is that this video is horrifying and it leaves us to wonder why Oklahoma hasn't taken a stronger stance on this issue.
We're all aware that this issue is nationwide. However, it's prevalent at not one, but two Big 12 programs. In a league that is desperately trying to expand, this is news that causes other programs to pause and think. No one wants this type of label attached to them and it's why, for their sake, the conference must act.
The conference must adapt strict "one and done" policies. Touch a woman once, you're done. No transfers are accepted.
The conference must adapt strict vetting policies, assuring that any transfer into any of their schools wasn't a massive problem at their old institution.
The conference must levy severe fines and punishments, well in advance of any NCAA inquiry, to any school who attempts to cover up any situation. Let the justice system do what it can. Suspend the accused player(s) and, if found innocent, they may return. If not, they're done.
While this easily could be a national policy, it's the Big 12 that owes it to itself to move now. Time has run out.