Three Baylor football players suspended amid sexual assault claims

Baylor’s football program is once again in the news for allegations of sexual assault.

Three players have been accused of sexually assaulting women hours after their game against Texas Tech at AT&T Stadium in November.

News of the investigation came out on Wednesday, four months after the initial incident.

With the police report heavily redacted, there’s little information about what the victims and witnesses say happened. But the coach says the players are suspended from the team as it's being investigated.

Baylor Football Coach Matt Rhule told reporters Wednesday that four players are suspended from the team. Three of them were suspended on allegations of sexual assault.

“This isn't a Baylor thing,” the coach said. “This is an our world thing.”

Rhule made the announcement, saying the suspended students would sit out of spring ball. But he says the three have been suspended since November, immediately after the report was taken by Baylor police.

The report is redacted heavily. It states the accusers, who are students at Baylor, told police they were raped at the University Parks Apartments in Waco on November 12. It was the day after Baylor lost to Texas Tech at AT&T Stadium.

ESPN reports that the women are members of the university's equestrian team.

“I don't know much about the case,” Rhule admitted. “And I think that's really a good thing because I probably shouldn't really know much about it because I'm the football coach.”

Rhule says he has met with Baylor police about the case but has stayed out of it otherwise. He says the suspensions were handed down by a committee at Baylor that met with the players.

In a statement, Baylor President Linda Livingstone says, "Baylor University takes any allegation of sexual assault seriously. The University's new leadership team is unwavering in our commitment to follow our well-documented Title IX policy and procedures in regards to reporting and responding to incidents of sexual assault."

Baylor is still trying to recover from the football program's sex assault scandal in 2016, which led to the firing of former coach Art Briles and the demotion and subsequent resignation of President Ken Starr.

More than 20 lawsuits were filed. One alleged 52 rapes in four years by football players. An internal investigation by law firm Pepper Hamilton found that the football program operated as if it was "above the rules" and that coaches and staff interfered when allegations of sexual assault were made.

Rhule says Baylor football culture has changed.

“There's bad culture when kids do things and grownups hide them,” he said. “And nobody's hiding anything here. And so that's why I know that we're doing things right.”

Criminal charges have not been filed in the case. It has not been heard by a grand jury.

The district attorney's office in Waco did not respond to request for comment.

The names of the four players who are suspended have been released. But because the coach will not specify which players are suspended for sexual assault, FOX 4 is not reporting their names.

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