Former Baylor head coach Art Briles drops libel suit against school officials

Art Briles in 2015

The Baylor University football scandal continues to drag on into February of 2017, as former Baylor head coach Art Briles is reportedly dropping his libel lawsuit against school officials.

The 61-year old Briles officially dropped the suit he previously filed against four university employees on Wednesday. The original lawsuit stated the four officials falsely said Briles knew of the sex scandal players were involved in and that the coach didn’t report it to the proper authorities.

All of these facts have been debated for over a year since the scandal first emerged to the public eye in September of 2015.

Briles’ lawsuit sought damages north of $1 million from the four people it was filed against, but in the end, Briles claims it wasn’t really about the money.

“All he wanted was his good name.”Briles’ attorney, Ernest Cannon said. “I’m sorry we didn’t get this resolved for all the Baylor people, so they could know the truth… A man can only carry so much.”

The lawsuit was brought against Regents Chairman Ronald Murff, Baylor Vice President Reagan Ramsower, and board members J. Cary Gray and David Harper. It accused the four of “libel, slander, tortious interference with prospective business relationships and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

Briles and his lawyer originally filed the suit against the four officials in December, only to drop it two months later. The timing is suspicious, though, as it came just days after another major news story came out about the sexual assault.

What was that story? Well, just last week a new suit was filed against Baylor claiming 31 football players committed at least 52 “acts of rape” during a four year period while Briles was the head coach.

The lawsuit describes a culture of sexual violence within Baylor’s athletics, in which the school implemented a “show ’em a good time” policy that “used sex to sell” the football program to recruits. A Dallas-area high school athlete, according to the suit, said former assistant coach Kendall Briles once asked him, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.” 

While that new lawsuit has nothing to do with Briles’ name, his lawyer still wants people to know all Briles wants right now is to clear his family’s name.

“Art wants some peace in his life for him and his family, and to put as much distance between him and his family and Baylor as he can,” the lawyer told KWTX, “and I wholeheartedly agree with him.”

Briles was ultimately fired in May of 2016 for the “specific failings within both the football program and athletics department leadership, including a failure to identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player, to take action in response to reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, and to take action in response to a report of dating violence.”

Of course, the head coach wasn’t the only Baylor employee who was fired or resigned. School President Kenneth Starr and Athletic Director Ian McCaw both resigned in the wake of the scandal.

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.