The column below was published on February 3rd. My suggestion, after a substantial amount of time following the heinous acts that were allowed to take place within the Baylor football program, was that mere sanctions were simply the tip of the iceberg. From my perspective, the actions of the coaches, administrators and local police officers warranted criminal charges.
Some people reacted to my suggestion with disdain, saying I was way out of line and writing something sensational simply to draw attention to myself. Well, I wasn’t. It was a simple analysis of assigning blame all around, and how the scales of justice needed to balance out in what was obviously, to me at least, a criminal conspiracy.
Yesterday, we learned that perhaps my suggestion was not as ludicrous as some initially thought. ESPN has recently reported that the Texas Rangers are currently investigating Baylor’s response to the sexual assault scandal that has rocked the college sports landscape.
If you thought this story was on its last legs, you’re sadly mistaken.
With the Texas Rangers now being involved, this will go beyond determining whether additional players might be charged with crimes. Now, a very discerning eye will be placed squarely on university officials, including former head coach Art Briles and his coaching staff, to see who might be charged with obstruction of justice or witness tampering charges.
Somebody is going to jail behind this, and not just the miscreants that terrorized the university community, but those who created an atmosphere that enabled them to operate with such impunity. Stay tuned.
The latest breaking news on the Baylor University football scandal is difficult to digest. As someone who cares about human beings and decency, it makes me sick to my stomach.
I’ve been looking at this extreme dark side of college athletics through the Baylor lens going back to when basketball player Patrick Dennehy was murdered by his teammate Carlton Dodson in 2003.
For those who need a refresher, when investigators starting digging, they found that head coach Dave Bliss had paid for the portion of Dennehy’s tuition not covered by financial aid when he transferred into the university. Bliss, in an attempt to cover up his illegal financial maneuverings, told his players to lie to investigators by saying that Dennehy had paid for his tuition by dealing drugs.
That’s the dictionary definition of a scumbag, lying about a dead player, a young man that he’d recruited and promised his family that he would make sure he received an education, labeling him a criminal and drug dealer to protect his own ass.
Dennehy’s death, and the slime that was uncovered in its aftermath, was one of the saddest scandals I’ve witnessed in college sports.
But the word sad does not even begin to describe my emotions right now.
Having followed the improbable ascension of the Baylor football program from a moribund laughingtstock to a national powerhouse and juggernaut with legit national title aspirations over the last few years, I was never quite at ease with the team’s sudden rise to elite status.
We later learned that the university and head football coach Art Briles, which both proudly champion their Christian roots, foundation and faith, made a deal with the devil.
It seems that in addition to being an innovator and exceptional football tactician, Briles willingly and purposely recruited some terrible characters who he, his staff, the university and the local police department allowed to run amok while terrorizing a community.
We’d heard about the shocking number of instances in which school officials either failed to investigate, or if they did, failed to do so thoroughly. The mind-numbing number of sexual assault, domestic violence and rape allegations by numerous members of the football team over a number of years was beyond inexcusable.
Victims were alienated by the school, ignored by police investigators and some of the most egregious actions were kept out of public view thanks to a collaborative cover-up between the football office, university administrators and the Waco Police Department. The whole fiasco was sickening.
At The Shadow League, we’ve looked at this for quite some time, including a conversation with journalist and author Jessica Luther, who helped break the scandal into a national outcry. We had an idea of the generalities, but now we’re being knocked over the head with specific details that paint the severity of the criminality in the starkest of terms.
And anyone who supports Art Briles and believes that he should be a head football coach ever again, and I’m talking Pop Warner, high school, flag or whatever level, is demented.
The only thing that Briles should be right about now is brought up on criminal charges for not only making reports of misconduct such as drug use, physical assault, domestic violence, brandishing of guns, indecent exposure and academic fraud disappear, but for creating a terroristic environment that encouraged such profound lawlessness.
I’m dead serious.
People debating whether Briles should coach again in college and given another chance should be asking a different set of questions, like what is an appropriate prison term for what he did.
Briles recently dropped a defamation suit that he’d filed against three regents and a university vice president, claiming that his reputation has been irreparably harmed. He did so less than a week after yet another victim filed a Title IX lawsuit against the school, in which her attorneys allege there were 52 sexual assaults committed by “not less” than 31 players from 2011 to 2014.
31 players! 52 sexual assaults!
And there might be even more that will never get examined because of the intimidation and focus on making the cases disappear, which Briles was responsible for. Their handling of the accusations against former star defensive end Shawn Oakman is disgusting.
The first allegation of gang rape involving Baylor football players came to light in the spring of 2013, when a female volleyball player told her coach that she was raped by five players. When word got back to Briles, his alleged response was, “Those are some bad dudes. Why was she around those guys?”
Some bad dudes? You mean the kids that you knew were criminals that you recruited anyway, all in the name of football glory at the country’s oldest Baptist university?
The overwhelming evidence now being presented paints Briles as complicit in these acts because he not only knew about them, he made a concerted effort to keep them off the radar of the school’s internal judicial affairs staff.
When one of his players allegedly exposed himself to a masseuse, a lawyer asked the athletic department to handle the matter by disciplining the miscreant and getting him counseling.
Briles’ response?, “What kind of discipline … She a stripper?”
In May of 2014, Briles and his staff quietly arranged for a player who’d been busted for selling drugs to transfer to another school without ever alerting Baylor’s judicial affairs office.
The coach made arrangements with the university president to overturn a player’s suspension due to academic fraud, so he could suit up and help the team win games. That player, Tevin Elliott, is now serving a twenty year prison term, having been convicted of raping two female students at Baylor. Three other students came forward to admit that they’s been raped by him as well.
How many people were harmed by Briles’ malfeasance?
How many women were raped, beaten and treated like refuse because of the players he recruited while knowing their criminal backgrounds ahead of time, and creating a culture where there heinous crimes were minimized and miraculously, if they could be suppressed, went away?
How many lives were irreparably harmed by the culture that he instituted?
The whole disgusting ordeal can be summed up by a meeting between Baylor alumni, donors and regents when discussing why Briles needed to be fired this past summer. The regents explained that firing the successful coach was non-negotiable due to his total disregard for the “mission of the university.”
A fat-pocket booster responding by saying, “If you mention Baylor’s mission one more time, I’m going to throw up. … I was promised a national championship.”
You were promised a national championship at the expense of the countless women who were raped, abused, violated and tossed aside. And how anyone can be cool with that, I will never know.
Briles once tried to paint himself as a scapegoat when the shit hit the fan. He claimed he couldn’t monitor his players’ behavior off the field, that he was innocent of any personal wrongdoing.
Now we know that’s far from the case. He made it possible for more women to be sexually abused, for more victims to pile up, opening the university’s doors and promoting a culture of violence and rape that ventures into the territory of insidiousness.
Should Art Briles coach again? Are you out of your cock-a-doodee mind?
Art Briles needs to go to jail.