Liberty News

President Falwell answers questions addressing the hiring of new athletic director

November 29, 2016 : Liberty University News Service

These FAQs provide more insight into the decision-making process behind the hiring of Ian McCaw as Liberty University's new Athletic Director. President Jerry Falwell answered the following questions from various media:

Tell me about the vetting process for Ian McCaw for Athletic Director?

We communicated with people he worked with at Baylor, including Regents who heard everything the investigating law firm has to say about what happened at Baylor.  We conducted a background investigation and checked with other sources, including former head coach and athletic director Grant Teaff, who is still well connected at Baylor and served as the Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association in Waco.  Of course, we spoke openly and directly with Ian McCaw about the situation at Baylor.  And we reviewed what can be found in the public record.   We are completely satisfied that Ian McCaw is a good man and a great athletic director. 

What do you believe his responsibility was, if any, for the Title IX violations alleged at Baylor?

We concluded after our investigation that Ian McCaw did not attempt to hide the sexual assault that was reported but, instead, had one of his coaches report it to Judicial Affairs at Baylor in 2013, in accordance with Baylor’s policies and procedures at the time.  The victim did not want the incident reported to police so Judicial Affairs was the only place the incident could have been reported at that time.  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 in the press.   His lengthy track record at the University of Maine, Tulane, Northeastern, Umass Amherst and Baylor speaks volumes about his ability to perform this job with excellence.  Those who have worked with him at other universities, and across Division I athletics, hold him in high regard and are very complimentary about his character, integrity, and how he gets things done.  We have learned that Ian was told by Baylor’s Board of Regents that he was welcome to remain as Baylor’s Athletic Director.  His decision to resign was his own choice.  It was in no way a forced resignation or firing.  If he made any mistakes at Baylor, they appear to be technical and unintentional, out of line with an otherwise distinguished record.  He is a good man who found himself in a place where bad things were happening and decided to leave — and now Liberty is the beneficiary. 

Why do you believe that he will lead an athletic department at Liberty that will respond better to sexual assault than it is alleged that Baylor did?

I 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 Ian McCaw.  We have a dedicated Title IX coordinator at Liberty.  I have no doubt that her working relationship with Ian will be fantastic and cooperative, and I know that one of Ian’s first tasks will be to connect with her and talk about how he and his department can work most effectively with her.  Apparently, at the time period in question, Baylor did not have a dedicated Title IX office and such reports of sexual assaults went to the office that handled all violations of the student conduct code, Judicial Affairs.  Liberty has specialized Title IX resources and investigators that work as a unit under the direction of the Title IX coordinator.  There is a big stack of new regulations that the Department of Education has created for Title IX and in the last several years, we have gone to great pains to make sure we have complied to the letter.   

Liberty has firm policies on sexual harassment, discrimination and assault and a system in place to enforce those policies against any member of the university community who is alleged to violate them.  While I cannot speak for how Liberty’s treatment of these issues and overall Title IX compliance compares to other universities, I can tell you that Liberty takes these matters seriously by conducting proactive trainings on these issues with students and staff alike, and by ensuring a swift response to allegations of misconduct.  In cases where such allegations arise, we are very careful to respect the rights of all parties involved and comply with Title IX.  Our athletics staff and coaches have a history of cooperating completely with investigations and the entire Title IX process.  If these type of things happen again, I trust that cooperation will continue under Ian’s leadership and our team will approach it the same way.

Did the Liberty Board of Trustees know about this hire prior to its completion?

The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees knew about the potential hire. 

Who from Liberty was involved in making the decision to hire McCaw?

The President and the Chief Operating Officer were involved in the decision, with consultation and approval by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.  Others with the University assisted with a background investigation and reference checks.