Baylor University officials completed a two-day virtual hearing Dec. 15 with a seven-member panel of the NCAA’s committee on infractions. President Linda Livingstone characterized the hearing as “the next step in the NCAA process for Baylor.” The NCAA launched its investigation into Baylor’s athletic department in June 2017 after multiple allegations of Title IX violations, including sexual assaults committed by Baylor football players. In October 2018, Baylor received formal notice from the NCAA of allegations involving lack of institutional control. “The university is bound by NCAA policies and procedures to maintain as confidential the details of the case until a decision is announced by the NCAA in the months ahead,” Livingstone said. “However, we believe we were given a fair opportunity to present our positions, and as we move forward, we remain excited about the future of our football program.” Individuals who were targets of the initial investigation no longer are associated with Baylor.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor awarded 388 undergraduate degrees, 76 master’s degrees and 41 earned doctoral degrees at its fall 2020 commencement services, held Dec. 11 at Crusader Stadium. Madison Henry of Killeen received the Loyalty Cup, awarded to the student who is considered most representative of the ideals, traditions and spirit of the university. The President’s Award for meritorious service went to Molly Rodeffer of Salado. The Provost Medal for highest overall grade point average was awarded to 15 students who each graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA: Kaitlynn Birkes of Moody; Hope Brents of Round Rock; Lauren Burns of Houston; Tyler Childs of Boerne; Burt Cruz II of Copperas Cove; Devyn Dockal of Belton; Casey Faichtinger of Sealy; Sydney Harris of Deer Park; Savana Jones of Lorena; Stephen Steger of Temple; Rachel Stepanov of Georgetown; Samantha Swisher of San Antonio; Breanna Tucker of Clovis, N.M.; Keri Urbantke of Temple; and Ashlyn Wimberly of Waco. UMHB President Randy O’Rear commended students for their dedication and determination to finish their degrees during a pandemic. “The grit and perseverance that each one of you showed while you completed your studies set you apart, and it’s truly something that deserves to be applauded,” he said.
Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team claimed overall sweepstakes and debate sweepstakes at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Fall Championship tournament, held virtually. Julie Welker, professor of communication and department chair at HPU, is the team coach. HPU competed against 18 colleges and universities from California, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas. In other competition, HPU’s Model United Nations team won the second-place award for overall team performance in the virtual Northwest Model United Nations conference. First-time delegate Sierra Ross, a senior from Galveston, received a distinguished delegate award, one of three such awards on a 30-student committee. David Claborn, professor of government, is faculty adviser for the Model United Nations team. Model United Nations is a simulation that uses current world issues to allow students to practice problem-solving through diplomatic means.
Fishing League Worldwide named East Texas Baptist University the 2020 Tackle Warehouse School of the Year. The ETBU bass fishing team ended the Abu Garcia College Fishing season with 2,319 points—the highest year-end total in the national competition. ETBU placed in the top 10 in all four of their qualifying tournaments this season, their best being a first-place finish in the Fishing League Worldwide Qualifier on the Ouachita River. Cameron Burger is head coach of the ETBU team.