WACO, Texas (AP) — The NCAA said Wednesday that its long investigation of the Baylor sexual assault scandal would result in nothing more than probation and other relatively minor sanctions because the egregious, “unacceptable” behavior at the heart of the case did not violate its rules. The NCAA ruling came more than five years after the scandal rocked the world’s largest Baptist university, leading to the firing of successful football coach Art Briles, and the departures of athletic director Ian McCaw and school president Ken Starr. In its ruling, the NCAA said the allegations centered on conduct never before presented to the Committee on Infractions — that Baylor “shielded football student-athletes from the institution’s disciplinary process and failed to report allegations of abhorrent misconduct by football student-athletes, including instances of sexual and interpersonal violence.” The panel said Baylor admitted to moral and ethical failings in its handling of violence on campus but argued “that those failings, however egregious, did not constitute violations of NCAA legislation.” “Ultimately, and with tremendous reluctance, this panel agrees,” the ruling said. The infractions committee said the question it wrestled with was whether Baylor athletes accused of sexual or violence were given an “extra benefit” in the form of more lenient treatment than other students -- and the answer was no, a damning indictment of the campus environment at the time. “To be clear, this is not a punt,” the NCAA report said. “The members of this panel understand that our voluntary service on the COI requires us to make difficult decisions and we do not shy away from that responsibility. But a question of this magnitude, in an area where the membership has not expressly legislated, requires collective membership consideration.”

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