As Baylor University works to repair its image after a year of firings, resignations and sexual assault allegations, a former player's appearance in the locker room at Friday's game did nothing to quell the controversy.
University Spokesperson Lori Fogelman confirmed to Channel Six that Former Baylor Defensive End Shawn Oakman, who was indicted for sexual assault in July, appeared in the Bear's locker room after the team defeated Rice University in Houston Friday.
Fogelman insisted Oakman was not invited, but he appeared on his own, as Channel Six previously confirmed with players who were there.
"Baylor did not invite Shawn Oakman onto the field or into the locker room," Fogelman said in a statement Monday night. "He made his way there after the game but did not address the team."
Channel Six Sports Reporter Jessica Morrey asked the first question about Oakman's visit during a press conference with Interim Head Football Coach Jim Grobe on Monday. In response, Grobe claimed he did not know who Oakman was.
"I don't know who Shawn Oakman is so I wouldn't be able to recognize him if he walked in the door right now. There were a lot of people that were around at the end of the game," Grobe said. "There is always a lot of people around. I have no issues, I didn't know he was there, or know who he is."
As publications like USA Today have subsequently pointed out, the optics of Oakman's appearance drew swift backlash on social media.
"That's not the kind of optics you want if you are dealing with the kind of national scandal that also led to school president
Fogelman reiterated that Grobe did not recognize Oakman while Grobe gave his post-game address in the locker room area.
"Oakman spoke personally with a few former teammates and left the stadium," Fogelman added. "Oakman is not permitted in Baylor-owned facilities nor in the locker room at future away games."
(© 2016 KCEN)