Man, payback is a--well, I won't finish that. After all, if I did, it would never get past the editor. I started with that because those were the first words that came into my head when I heard that Ken Starr had been forced out as President of Baylor University in the wake of a sex scandal involving the football team. The temptation to gloat is overpowering, but I won't give in to it. That's because in the end, I believe that Starr is a decent man who never would have condoned what happened. Then again, he may have been so wrapped up in the team's success that he didn't try hard enough to find out the truth.
It's also an unfortunate truth that every time a woman yells, "rape!" on a college campus, she may not be telling the truth. The Lacrosse team at Duke and a fraternity at Virginia were victims of false accusations. It's because of cases like those two that the real victims of sexual assault on a campus either are not believed or keep quiet for fear that speaking out would only make things worse for them.
It's also an unfortunate truth that if a school has a successful football or basketball program, those athletes can get away with behavior on and off campus that would get other students expelled at the least or jailed at the worst.
At the University of Oklahoma, where a president once said he hoped the school could become one that the football team could be proud of, the team under Barry Switzer was completely out of control as long as it was winning. The coach even got away with having an affair with the wife of one of his assistant coaches.
At Florida State, Jamais Winston assaulted a female student but kept on playing. He was caught shoplifting and kept on playing. He jumped up on a table in the student union and yelled an obscenity and got a one game suspension. While he was leading his team to a national championship the school was negotiating a financial settlement with the woman he attacked.
At Penn State, where Joe Paterno was held up as an icon of all that is good and right about college football, he allowed a known pedophile to stay on his staff. Even when the school and Paterno believed that this man was using the football program to lure in his victims, they stayed silent.
And now we come to Baylor, the largest Baptist university in the nation. Even at a place like that, a winning football program allowed the players to think that they could treat women students there as their own harem, to be used as they wished. A school headed by a man who once made it his mission in life to expose every sordid detail of an affair between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski. Why didn't Starr investigate the rumors at Baylor with as much zeal as he did Clinton? Was it because he thought it may turn out like the cases at Duke and Virginia? Was it because he was swayed by the football team's success like the leaders at Oklahoma, Florida State, and Penn State had? Or was it because he didn't want to believe it and hoped it would go away? Only Ken Starr can answer those questions.
There's no excuse for Bill Clinton's behavior with Monica Lewinski, and this episode at Baylor doesn't absolve him of anything. But there is one telling difference. What happened between Clinton and Lewinski was consensual. In fact, she instigated it, and by the time Clinton was elected every woman in his administration (except maybe Janet Reno) knew that if she flirted with him, he'd take the bait. What happened at Baylor was a crime. When you've made your name the way Starr did, those sort of crimes aren't expected to occur on your watch.