The State of Texas: Big 12 To Withhold Conference Revenue From Baylor
Plus: Investigators reveal the cause of the Victoria mosque fire, a Dallas-based company moves forward with the Dakota Access Pipeline, and a brief history of Topo Chico.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Hey Donald Trump I oppose civil asset forfeiture too! Why don’t you try to destroy my career you fascist, loofa-faced, shit-gibbon!”
—Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach, on Twitter. This was an imaginative, expletive-laden show of solidarity with the anonymous Texas state senator whose career Trump threatened to “destroy” on Wednesday. Regardless of what you think of the president, “loofa-faced” has to go down as one of the most original insults ever levied.
The Big 12 Conference announced Wednesday that it will withhold 25 percent of Baylor’s share of conference revenue payments until a third-party review can determine whether the university has actually made the changes it promised in the wake of a massive sexual assault scandal. “The Board is unified in establishing a process to verify that proper institutional controls are in place and sustainable,” University of Oklahoma President and Big 12 Conference Board of Directors chairman David Boren said in a statement. “Effective immediately, the Conference is withholding 25 percent of Baylor’s share of any future revenue distribution until the proper execution of controls is independently verified.” According to ESPN, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Baylor has already received a $10 million payout for part of 2016-2017, and that the total payout for Big 12 schools is expected to be around $34 million, meaning under the 25 percent punishment, Baylor could be short $6 million this year. Still, Bowlsby was clear that the league isn’t investigating what happened at Baylor, but is instead merely conducting a verification and review of whether Baylor is doing what it was asked to do. It’s been a particularly rough week or so for Baylor. In a court filing last Thursday, several Baylor officials made new allegations against former football coach Art Briles, revealing texts that seem to show Briles and other athletics officials attempted to cover up player misconduct. And on Saturday, a recently hired Baylor athletics strength coach was arrested in a prostitution sting.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Investigators revealed on Wednesday the cause of a fire that burned a Victoria mosque to the ground a few weeks ago was arson. The fire started in the wee hours the day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning refugees and immigrants from entering the U.S., targeting seven Muslim-majority nations. While investigators have determined the fire was intentionally set, it remains unclear if it was a hate crime. “At this time, the evidence does not indicate the fire was a biased crime,” the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is helping out with local authorities, said in a statement, according to the Victoria Advocate. There’s a $30,000 reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest. Members of the mosque were understandably saddened that someone intentionally burned down their place of worship. “To the last minute, we were hoping it would be an accident,” Abe Ajrami, a mosque board member, told the Advocate. “To know that someone is out there that did this puts a whole different perspective on it.”
Dallas-based company Energy Transfer Partners will move forward with the construction of its controversial North Dakota Access Pipeline project after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted an easement in North Dakota, according to the Associated Press. A spokesperson for Energy Transfer Partners told the AP on Wednesday that they “plan to begin immediately,” sparking concerns among pipeline opponents that months of massive protests held by the nearby Standing Rock Sioux tribe will eventually be for naught. The decision comes with the backing of President Donald Trump, who issued an executive order a few weeks ago attempting to undo efforts made by the Barack Obama administration to block the pipeline construction. It seems the Standing Rock Sioux will now take their battle to court. “Trump’s reversal of [President Obama’s] decision continues a historic pattern of broken promises to Indian tribes and a violation of treaty rights,” Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman, who is representing the tribe, told CNN. “Trump and his administration will be held accountable in court.” It’s worth noting that Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren was a big-time donor to Trump’s presidential campaign, and Trump held up to $50,000 in stock in the company before he claimed to divest in December.
Ever wonder what started Texas’s love affair with the bottled bubbly water, Topo Chico? Well, the Dallas Morning News has you covered with this story that delves into the history of the popular beverage. In fact, the Morning News seems to have found out pretty much anything you could ever want to know about the drink with two ingredients: mineral water and good ol’ CO2. For example, Topo Chico was named after the Monterrey, Mexico neighborhood where it’s bottled, and it’s the only sparkling mineral water sold at Dallas’s Winspear Opera House. Apparently, NAFTA had a big part in Topo Chico’s Texas takeover. When the trade agreement was negotiated in the 1980s, there had already been a big demand for Topo Chico established by waves of Mexicans who immigrated to Texas. NAFTA eventually “paved the way” for Topo Chico’s explosion on this side of the border, according to the Morning News. Meanwhile, other sparkling waters can’t hold a candle to Topo Chico’s fire. “Topo Chico is absolutely growing faster than any other kind of imported sparkling water brand,” one beverage expert told the Morning News. Now that Texas is definitely Topo Chico territory, the company has its sights set on expanding to San Francisco and maybe New York. And after that? World domination, probably.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
A Phoenix man who carried out an ISIS-inspired attack in Garland in 2015 was sentenced to thirty years in prison Arizona Republic
A Jordanian high school student in Katy was finally released after spending a week in a Chicago detention center Houston Chronicle
The FAA could have grounded the pilot in the crash that killed fifteen passengers in Lockhart last year Austin American-Statesman
Wait, so maybe Tom Brady’s stolen jersey wasn’t stolen after all? TMZ
The arrest affidavits in the Zuzu Verk case reveal disturbing details about what may have happened KOSA