Bryan College is rapidly becoming Christian in name only. In fact, it is arguably the most corrupt institution of higher learning in America. Because the financial corruption of the administration has now reached unprecedented proportions, I must take a break from addressing the moral rot on our nation’s secular campuses to address the situation. To do otherwise would be an act of complicity in the spineless hypocrisy that has transformed Bryan into a ghastly caricature of its former self.
The present crisis dates back to 2009 when one of the founders of the National Association of Christian Athletes (NACA) was accused of sexual molestation. A proposal was made to sell a property owned by NACA, which is known as the Fort Bluff Camp, for an amount of $2.5 million. This would have covered NACA’s debt at the time, which was $900,000. Thus, it would have left them $1.6 million in the black. This is where Bryan College President Stephen Livesay gets involved. This is also where the gross financial misconduct begins.
Livesay managed to defeat the proposal to sell the land with an alternate proposal to get rid of the then-existing 13-member NACA Board. Livesay proposed a new 15-member NACA Board be put in its place. Elevating audacity to a Zen art form, Livesay suggested the following composition for the new NACA Board: Nine new members from the Bryan College Board and six members from the existing NACA Board. Unbelievably, Livesay proposed that he would be the one to choose all 15 members.
The proposal was accepted and Livesay was elected Chairman of the Board. It was a political move that even a third world dictator or a mafia boss would envy. In other words, it was the kind of move that no decent Christian man would even attempt. Worse, the rigged 15-member Board would ultimately dwindle to just seven members. The reasons for that will be obvious as the story unfolds.
By 2016, the NACA Board had been reduced to nothing more than a hand puppet of the Bryan College president. By June 27, they had adopted a resolution to transfer the Fort Bluff property from NACA to none other than Bryan College. Five of the seven remaining members of the NACA Board were staff or Trustees of Bryan when the property was transferred to the college. It was a bulletproof plan with only one opponent. That is a nice way of saying that only one member of the NACA Board exercised an ounce of Christian discernment in the situation. (He has since resigned leaving both NACA and Bryan leadership without anything resembling a Christian moral foundation).
Because President Livesay defeated the 2009 sale of Fort Bluff, NACA had already lost $1.6 million. Bryan College, on the other hand, received the property in 2016 with an appraisal of $6.9 million – with the lone drawback that they had assumed the $900,000 debt of NACA. In other words, the thwarted deal of 2009 that cost NACA $1.6 million set up a deal for Bryan that would net $6 million. It was pure genius by Livesay.
To make matters worse for NACA, the Bryan leadership set up a one-year lease of its newly acquired property to NACA. Now, they pay $120,000 per year to Bryan to rent property they used to own. The warden in Shawshank Redemption could not have cut a better deal.
Just eight days before the land deal came through Livesay was confronted about his conflict of interest, which he denied. Instead, he asserted that he had been asked by the previous owners of the property (Michael and Naomi Crain) to give the property to Bryan College. By the time the deal occurred, Michael Crain was in prison for sexual battery. But Naomi Crain was doing fine. She was getting a $4,000 monthly check from Bryan College as a “consultant.” Her “consulting” actually drew more money than the director of the camp. The line was hidden in Bryan’s 2015 budget under “interest and fees.”
For giving President Livesay cover for the land deal, Naomi Crain got a nice retirement pension from Bryan College. In return, Bryan College got a nice property with a big mansion sitting on top of it. It would be the perfect retirement home for an educator who has spent his whole life serving Christ above all.
Fortunately, all NACA Board members have to sign IRS Form 990, which is used to disclose actual or potential conflicts of interest - and to prevent organizations from abusing their tax-exempt status. In fact, the Board signed Conflict of Interest Statements on June 10, 2016 - just one day after Livesay was confronted about his obvious conflict of interest, which he denied.
To be fair, it is true that Livesay finally acknowledged his conflict and resigned from the NACA Board. But that did not occur until after the land deal was completed. In fact, he left NACA the very next day after the land transaction was approved.
NACA financial statements were released six months after Livesay abandoned the organization with their property secured for his college. The statement revealed a NACA deficit of $1.64 million. In contrast, Bryan College finished their fiscal year with a positive increase in assets of $5 million. But for the property transfer, they would have been $1 million in debt.
As of this writing, Naomi Crain continues to get her monthly “consulting” fee. President Livesay continues to get glowing reviews from his fine Christian Board. But there are not enough desperate wives of convicted sex offenders to save Bryan College from impending financial ruin.
Author Note: Sources for this column include the Bryan Board resignation letter of Wayne Cropp as well as current and former professors at Bryan College. Current Bryan faculty members are unwilling to speak on the record due to fear of retaliation at the hands of the upstanding Christian administration. Rumors of a sequel to Shawshank Redemption based upon the affairs of Bryan College are unconfirmed.