It is nothing new to the general public that Baylor University has recently been in the spotlight regarding sexual assault and the mishandling of accusations by students involving student-athletes. Now that the school year has started, and football season has commenced, there has been a rather controversial debate on campus concerning “support” of the team by attending the games.
While I do not condone the actions of the student-athletes involved in recent headlines, whether it is the ongoing investigations of sexual assault or the case of animal abuse, I do not agree with many students’ stance on boycotting football games.
To set the record straight, I am not America’s #1 collegiate football fan. Heck, I don’t know what’s happening 85% of the time, and if it weren’t for my roommate, I would be completely lost.
I may not understand the mechanics of offense and defense in football, but I do understand the environment, energy, and tradition of the game. I enjoy watching the sport, and I enjoy standing alongside my friends in the stands and watching my fellow classmates on the field doing what they know best.
With the ongoing scandals surrounding Baylor, many students argue that attending these football games is parallel with supporting the negative behavior of the fraction of the team’s athletes—emphasis being fraction of the team. The actions of a few teammates do not define the entire team, nor does it define the entirety of Baylor athletics.
I understand the severity of the actions of these student-athletes, and I take each and every one of them very seriously, especially as a student of Baylor University. What I do not understand is the one-track mindset that a portion of the student population is currently portraying in response to the allegations and cases. How can you take a handful of student-athletes and a respective amount of situations, and then proceed to place all of Baylor’s athletes under the same umbrella of negativity?
The whole of Baylor football as an entity should not be branded by the aggressive misjudgments and reckless behavior of previous and/or current teammates. Every school has had its share of scandals, whether academic, athletic, social, or a combination; while there are consequences to these scandals, there is also a future after them.
This article is not denying anything that Baylor has been involved in, and is by no means encouraging the behaviors or actions that have taken place over the past few months. This article is simply serving as a perspective of a student that not only attends Baylor, but also works closely with student-athletes on a daily basis. I am taking a stand for the majority of the athletes here at Baylor that are left fighting the odds against a tarnished name because of a few students’ decision to disregard their responsibilities as collegiate athletes.
In layman's terms, the mistakes of the minority should not predict the future of the majority. This applies to any school and any situation. As students of Baylor University, we should band together to support the school that is overcoming adversity placed upon it by the regrets and mistakes of a few students. Again, I am not defending these student-athletes and/or their behavior in any way. I am, however, defending the school I have pledged to call my home for four years and standing for the proactive measures being taken to educate the current student population about the reality of these circumstances.
Although I am not a college athlete, I am a college student, and the reality of mistakes is very real in my academic life. When I receive a single less than satisfactory exam grade in a single class, does that mean that my name will go down in the books of all medical school admissions committees as academically incompetent? No. Why? Because I am a student who makes mistakes, and I am a student who will falter from time to time in a class or two. The difference is that I have identified my problem, come to terms with it, and made a decision to be proactive about taking preventative measures to ensure that the casualties are minimized from now on.
Mistakes have been made, and lacks of judgment have occurred. While inexcusable and disgraceful altogether, they have already happened, and history cannot be rewritten. The present and the future, however, are in our hands.
I will not go into detail about the crude things I have heard students say about their very own campus, but I will say that I remain a proud member of that Good Old Baylor Line. I am proud of my university’s legacy and how far it has come, and I will stand firm in the idea that although there have been setbacks after setbacks recently, there is a future beyond them for Baylor University.
We are #BaylorStrong and will continue to be, because that is who we are. Boycotting a football game(s) will not resolve anything, but will only promote division among a student body that is already fighting against the odds of media and criticism.
I love my school, and I am proud to be a part of the Baylor family. Sic’em Bears.