Not all Texans love their football, but a sizable majority do. And although the state has produced exactly zero championships on any level above high school in more than a decade now, there remains the perception that Texas football is somehow superior and more manly than the rest. The quest to achieve football prominence (or prominence in any sport) can overwhelm more pedestrian desires such as education, quality of life and safety. What has happened at Baylor and in Waco is a prime example of misplaced priorities and an institution run amok in its goal of building a nationally recognized college football program. Baylor had had brief moments of football success winning the Southwest Conference several times in the early days of the SWC and twice (1974 and 1980) under Grant Teaff in a more competitive era. But until winning the Big 12 in 2013, it had been over 30 years without a trophy on the shelf. Then sharing a Big 12 title in 2014 opened the possibility that the Bears might actually be on the road to long term success and regular national recognition.
But a what price? Red does not know and probably does not care to know all the details of the investigation that has resulted in the firing of Head Coach Art Briles, the demotion of Ken Starr and the quick exit of the Baylor Athletic Director (whose name only the faithful knew before this week and even they will want to forget it). Suffice it to say, that to fire a highly successful coach that had brought Baylor to national prominence, the facts are probably worse than we will ever know or want to know. The athletic program, the administration and the Waco police and district attorney are all complicit in a horrendous cover up of gross criminality. Anyone who has spent hard-earned money to send their child to what has been revealed to be a corrupt institution cloaking itself in Christian teaching can only be truly shocked and disappointed at how low this place has fallen.
Everyone Red knows that went to Baylor really loves the place. It has a great reputation for being a place where students feel at home and build a sense of community and friendship. Will that still be the case?
Red gives no credit to Baylor whatsoever for firing Briles and demoting Starr. It is incredible that all of this occurred under the noses of the Board of Regents and they too must be considered complicit in the lack of oversight of a program that completely lost any ethical or moral mooring.
So when you are watching college football next fall, think about the consequences of the bloated importance placed on these games, these coaches and these players. Something is seriously out of order when what happened at Baylor can go on for years without some consequences.