Liberty University has hired Ian McCaw -- the former Baylor University athletics director who resigned amid widespread claims that his athletic department mishandled reports of sexual assaults committed by football players -- to serve as its new athletics director, the university announced Monday. The university said it hired McCaw with the goal of one day transforming its football team into a top-tier Football Bowl Subdivision program.
“Ian’s success really speaks for itself,” Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty's president, said in a statement. “You look at what Baylor was able to do during his tenure -- it fits perfectly with where we see our sports programs going. This is an exciting time for us.”
McCaw resigned as athletics director at Baylor in May. His resignation came days after Baylor's Board of Regents fired the university's head football coach and forced out its president following allegations that the world’s largest Baptist university mishandled -- and sought to suppress public discourse about -- reports of sexual assaults committed by its football players and other students. Baylor officials said earlier this month that, in total, 17 women reported 19 sexual or physical assaults involving football players since 2011, and that four of the reports involved gang rapes. Baylor said McCaw was told about at least one of those gang rapes, which involved five football players, but he did not report the allegations to the university's judicial affairs office or anyone else outside the athletic department, as required by federal law.
Last week, Baylor reached an undisclosed settlement with two women who reported being gang raped by football players in 2012.
"Liberty to me represents a pinnacle of professional and personal opportunity where we’re going to be able to develop champions for Christ, develop a world-class student-athlete experience and achieve victory with integrity," McCaw, echoing comments made by Baylor officials before the sexual assault scandal there came to light, said in a statement."We certainly want Christian student athletes to grow up dreaming of competing for Liberty University.”
When asked why Liberty would hire McCaw after what took place under his watch at Baylor, the university said in an email to Inside Higher Ed that McCaw "is a godly man of excellent character." Regarding Title IX and campus sexual assault, the university added, "We can’t think of an athletic director in the country who is more sensitized to the importance of complying with the intricacies of Title IX than" McCaw.
"There will be time, no doubt, for Ian and his attorneys to address questions about what happened at Baylor, but we don’t intend to litigate those facts with the press," the university said. "If he made any mistakes at Baylor, they appear to be technical and unintentional, out of line with an otherwise distinguished record. We are completely satisfied that Ian McCaw is a good man and a great athletic director."
Inside Higher Ed’s Blog U
What Others Are Reading