As the unbeaten Baylor Bears get ready to face Texas tomorrow, the Wall Street Journal has published a story that will likely cloud whatever the #8 team in the country does the rest of the way this season.
The WSJ released more details about what transpired at Baylor — namely what former Head Coach Art Briles knew and when he knew it — as regents talked with the paper about the outside investigation from Philadelphia Pepper Hamilton LLP.
In one case detailed by a regent, Briles knew about an alleged sexual assault incident involving one of his players and didn’t tell police, didn’t tell anyone in the school’s Title IX office, and didn’t tell the judicial affairs staff. Some of the regents who spoke on the record are disgusted by how the school dealt with the chronic problems plaguing the football time.
“There was a cultural issue there that was putting winning football games above everything else, including our values,” said J. Cary Gray, a lawyer and member of the Baylor board of regents. More broadly, he said, “we did not have a caring community when it came to these women who reported that they were assaulted. And that is not OK.”
Gray also heard people trying to defend Briles who, “just wanted to be in the offensive boardroom drawing up plays. That is not the job for the head coach of a college football program. It is a big business. It is a complex organization that involves millions of dollars, and you have got to have an effective CEO in that role.”
Ernest Cannon, Briles’ lawyer said he or the former head coach couldn’t respond to the allegations because neither he nor Briles were given any details or notice of the allegations, including what players were involved and the circumstances surrounding these incidents. Briles could not be reached for comment for this story.
“They are pulling their own house down to justify the mistakes they made,” Mr. Cannon said. “He’s the football coach. That’s not his job [to enforce Title IX]. That’s their job.”
“As he heard information, what did he do with it? From a moral standpoint, what is the right thing to do?” said Ron Murff, a Dallas businessman who is chairman of the board of regents, and someone else now speaking out publicly.
Murff also added later what may be the transcendent aspect of this story, which is that it appeared the school, and then the Board of Regents once the allegations and stories went public, wanted to put the football team first.
“It was all about football,” Mr. Murff said. “My response was that we felt like our fiduciary duty was to uphold the mission of the university. That was the primary objective. It was not just to win football games.”
One thing is for sure- the thought that Baylor had put this entire mess behind them is now not true, and will certainly cloud their quest for a Big XII title and undefeated regular season.