Many were shocked when Baylor University fired Art Briles in late May. Perhaps no one more so than Art Briles. Until the details of Pepper Hamilton’s report into sexual assault by Baylor players were released. Baylor University has maintained they will not release the full report but the jist seemed fairly clear. Baylor University administrators and football coaches, including Art Briles, failed to address sexual assaults by Baylor football players, in some cases actively convering them up. As the report concludes, “institutional failures at every level”.
Yet Briles continues to maintain that he has “never done anything illegal, immoral, or unethical”. He and many others believe he will get another head coaching job in college football sooner rather than later. Yes, because he wins but also because Baylor has continued to enable Art Briles.
Baylor had no choice but to fire Briles, but it doesn’t appear they really wanted to. Numerous reports indicated after his firing they were trying to figure out a way to bring him back. At least until he threatened to sue them. Maybe Baylor’s interest in football over everything else has its limits.
Even now Baylor football seems to overshadow all other considerations. Jim Grobe was hired to take over for Briles and his hiring was lauded. But the rest of the Baylor staff was kept intact. Even though “…choices made [by] football staff and athletics leadership…posed a risk to campus safety and University integrity”. Assistants were kept for continuity. Signees were only released from their letters of intent following public outcry.
But Baylor is “not an institution of football”. Then they need to stop protecting football. Get rid of the entire coaching staff. Release the full report. Signal to everyone that Art Briles’ firing was merited not just necessary.