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Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw resigns, citing need for 'healing'

Baylor's house continues to get cleaned.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Here's McCaw in the release that makes this official:

After much reflection and prayer, I have decided that a change in athletics department leadership is in Baylor University's best interest in order to promote the unity, healing and restoration that must occur in order to move forward. I have always sought to put the University's needs ahead of my own. My time at Baylor has been an incredible journey filled with some of the most remarkable people I have ever known. I am grateful to Baylor Nation for its support and dedication, and to all who have done so much to advance the athletics program.

Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw is expected to resign from his position "in the near future," according to a report from 247Sports.

McCaw was sanctioned and placed on probation by Baylor last Thursday. That occurred in conjunction with the release of damning findings of institutional failure, based on a Pennsylvania law firm's investigation into the handling of multiple allegations of sexual assault and violence against women by the school and its football program. McCaw's resignation was preceded by the firing of football coach Art Briles and the reassignment of school president Ken Starr, each of whom has been the subject of accusations of failings ranging from indifference to improper meddling that never quite touched McCaw.

McCaw, though, was nominally Briles' boss, and had hired him from Houston back in 2008; any blame for a culture within the Baylor football program that Briles instituted or nurtured is probably fairly shared with the man who brought him to Waco to lead that football program.

McCaw had seemingly escaped the immediate fallout of the Pepper Hamilton report with his job intact. But the timing of the move is curious, as the news broke just hours after reports about Baylor hiring former Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe to serve as interim head coach. Grobe is a surprise candidate, given days of speculation and reporting that Baylor would promote defensive coordinator Phil Bennett to that role, but McCaw is quoted in Baylor's release on Grobe's hiring.

Installing Grobe as a one-year rent-a-coach and working on a succession plan would have given McCaw a chance to clean house in total and hire Baylor's next head coach, something he would certainly be expected to eventually do if he were remaining in his position. Of course, giving the responsibility to hire Briles' successor to the man who hired Briles seemed like a dubious idea at best.

It's possible that Grobe was selected by someone other than McCaw, and/or over his wishes, and that Grobe's hiring signals a shift of decision-making power from McCaw to persons above even his pay grade. If so, it's hardly surprising that he would depart the school.

But it's also possible that hiring Grobe was just McCaw's last act before bowing out. And while McCaw would probably rather be employed than not, he might well understand his departure as a necessary move.

His emphasis on building trust in the wake of a men's basketball player killing a teammate and then-coach Dave Bliss attempting to cover it up, which shows in quotes from interview with SB Nation in July 2015 for an unrelated story, makes it clear that he thought trust was built slowly and carefully.

"We needed to reestablish trust with everybody because of what had happened but I think our staff probably was the biggest challenge quite honestly because of what happened with the basketball scandal they felt very violated. We had people we thought we could trust and we were mislead and 'look what's happened to us.' We started closest to home and built it out.

"Trust isn't like a light switch. You don't just flick it on. You have to demonstrate trust by being consistent over a period of time. Once people learn who you are how you do things you slowly gain their trust and their confidence. That's what you have to do."

McCaw hired Briles and men's basketball coach Scott Drew, each arguably the most successful coaches in their sport in school history, and was in the big chair for the two national championships won by Kim Mulkey's women's basketball team. During his tenure, Baylor also built and opened McLane Stadium, a new football facility on the Brazos River that cost more than a quarter of a billion dollars.