Baylor University’s sexual assault scandal has cost plenty across campus. Everyone from the president to the athletic director and the coach is now gone for his role in covering up and poorly responding to alleged criminal activity of players on the football team.
Now one more group is being punished for the stupidity of others — incoming freshmen football players.
According to a report from Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman Wednesday night, Baylor is not letting freshmen out of their national letters of intent.
The national letter of intent is a binding agreement between all college athletic departments, and signing it also binds the player to the school unless it releases said player from the commitment. In other extreme cases, many schools have let players out of their commitments, most notably during the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal just a few years ago.
According to Feldman’s report, seven current 2016 signees have asked for their release from the NLIs signed this past February but are not being granted them as of this time. Here’s what Feldman wrote:
On Wednesday night FOX Sports spoke to Collis Cobb, the father of one of those seven players, Parrish Cobb, a highly regarded cornerback. The elder Cobb told FOX that they filed to get his son’s release from his LOI on Saturday, two days after Briles was let go, and someone in Baylor’s compliance office told him they weren’t willing to do it. Baylor has a 30-day deadline to respond to each recruit’s request for a release and without that release, the recruit is not allowed to have any contact with another school.
Cobb isn’t alone, as fellow 2016 signees J.P Urquidez, Jared Atkinson, Kameron Martin, Donovan Duvernay, Patrick Hudson and Devin Duvernay are all already requesting or planning on requesting their releases.
New interim Baylor head coach Jim Grobe has already hit the ground running and is attempting to ease the concerns these players have, meeting with Cobb and his family this week. However, given all the turmoil and speculation around the program, many appear to have already made up their minds to leave.
The question is, will Baylor change course in the next 30 days, or will it hold steady with the current talk of not releasing the players?
Right now, this is just another bad PR move for a program with a massive image and legal problem on its hands. Not letting these players out of their commitments given all the facts now known just seems ridiculous and petty.
Letting the players decide if they want to stay, given all the uncertainty surrounding the program, just seems like the smart and right move for the players and for Baylor football. We’ll see if they come to that conclusion.