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President commissions investigation of athletic recruiting scandal

It’s the usual big-time college sports scandal: athletic department recruits transfer player with history of sexual assault without doing due diligence, player assaults another student, university keeps it secret, victim hires Attorney John Clune to sue the university.

A few twists: at Baylor University the second assault ended in a trial and conviction, and Baylor’s President Ken Starr (yes, of Monica Lewinsky investigation fame) has asked Baylor’s Faculty Athletics Representative to lead the investigation of what went wrong.

Now why didn’t President Gottfredson ask UO FAR Jim O’Fallon to lead the investigation of the gang rape allegations against Dana Altman’s basketball players? Maybe because it would have been hard to find anyone with less credibility than an administratively appointed Faculty Athletics Representative to do an independent investigation of anything having to do with athletics. (Although Baylor FAR Jeremy Counseller seems more credible than most.)

Actually, I should give President Starr credit. At least he’s commissioning an investigation. President Gottfredson explicitly told his “Independent Review Panel” that they were not to investigate how Dana Altman recruited Brandon Austin. And so UO still knows almost nothing about Altman’s decision to pursue Austin and how it was that UO admitted him. What was Lorraine Davis’s role? Did Roger Thompson’s Special Committee on Special Athletic Admits raise any questions?

Here’s the latest, from ESPN:

The woman who accused former Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu of raping her in 2013 has hired a law firm experienced in Title IX litigation to represent her in potential civil litigation.

On Friday, the woman, a former Baylor soccer player, hired John Clune and Chris Ford of Hutchinson Black and Cook of Denver. The firm also represents Erica Kinsman, the woman who accused former Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston of sexually assaulting her in 2012.

Ukwuachu, who transferred from Boise State to Baylor in 2013, was convicted of sexual assault on Aug. 21 by a jury at Texas District 54 Court in Waco. Judge Matt Johnson sentenced him to 180 days in county jail, 10 years of felony probation and 400 hours of community service.

“At the request of the victim and her parents, our firm has been retained to investigate a number of issues surrounding this case,” Clune said in a statement. “We are glad to see that President [Ken] Starr and Baylor have chosen to conduct their own investigation and look forward to learning the outcome of that process. Regardless of what facts these investigations may bare, there is a significant teachable moment here for all in higher education and we are hopeful that Baylor University embraces that great opportunity.”

After Ukuachu’s conviction, Starr, Baylor’s president, called for a “comprehensive internal inquiry into the circumstances associated with the case and the conduct of the offices involved.” The review will be led by Baylor law professor Jeremy Counseller, who is a faculty athletic representative to the Big 12 and NCAA and a former assistant criminal district attorney. …

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