An external report released May 26 on Baylor University officials' mishandling of sexual assault allegations against football players sent shockwaves around the country. The Big 12 Conference-affiliated Baptist university systematically failed rape survivors, investigators found, with officials discouraging students from reporting their assaults and even retaliating against one who did.
The university's board of regents responded the next day by demoting its president, firing the football coach and placing the athletic director on probation. (The AD has since resigned.) One of the NCAA's most successful football programs (at least in recent years) was suddenly an object of disgrace.
The narrative is all too familiar for Missoula residents, but it left some national sports commentators in disbelief.
"You just think to yourself, how in the hell do you do this?" ESPN radio host Mike Golic said last week after reading the Baylor report. The former NFL player added that he was "stunned" the president and AD weren't immediately and outright fired.
Listeners, on the other hand, were quick to point out on social media that Baylor wasn't so extraordinary. They even offered up some recommended reading: Jon Krakauer's Missoula.
"Have we not learned from the tragedies of Missoula?" one Twitter user wrote.
"If you think this is limited to Baylor, go read Jon Krakauer's Missoula," tweeted another. "This may be approaching epidemic levels nationwide."
Some members of Griz Nation may be disappointed to see the city's name dragged into another town's disgrace—the feared outcome of a bestselling author's decision to make our home a poster child for rape. The timing is also unfortunate, considering the Missoula County Attorney's Office is set to fully emerge from the scrutiny of federal and state officials in a few weeks' time, closing the final chapter on UM's sexual assault scandal.
But the U.S. Department of Justice intervention at UM in 2013 was intended to create a "blueprint" for colleges around the country to protect students from sexual assault. The federal government's subsequent reports show UM is following it. The events that have transpired at Baylor reveal how other universities still have much to learn.