Tha Sports Junkies 101

I.C.Y.M.I. – Baylor Fires Art Briles Amid Scandal

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Sweeping changes have occurred at Baylor amid a sexual assault scandal against Baylor football players.  One of those changes is the “suspension with intent to terminate” of head football coach Art Briles, who has coached the Bears for eight seasons.  Kenneth Starr, while he will remain at the school, will no longer be school president, and athletic director Ian McCaw was placed on probation.

The scandal started back in 2013 when transfer defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was charged with sexual assault.  Briles did not come forward quickly with the story and denied he ever had any knowledge of the circumstances of Ukwuachu’s dismissal from Boise State.

This was just the beginning of the scandal for Baylor and Briles, however, as an Outside The Lines report showed that the team tried to cover up several other cases of sexual assault against players on the football team.  Another Outside The Lines report showed that not only was there plenty of violence allegations against the Bears, but also that the Waco police tried to cover the accusations up.

Pepper Hamilton, an outside law firm, found that the school “failed to take appropriate action to respond to reports of sexual assault and dating violence reportedly committed by football players. The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the University,” and that the school dismissed some student complaints about how the school handled the situation.

Briles has coached the Bears for eight seasons to a record of 65-37 despite a very slow start.  Briles’ career at Baylor started with two seasons going 4-8.  A 7-5 2010 season and a bowl appearance changed things for the program, and accelerated their growth to s 10-3 season and an Alamo Bowl win on the back of Quarterback and Heisman Winner Robert Griffin III.

Baylor dropped off a bit the next season, going 8-5, but exploded onto the national scene the next year.  They went 11-2, averaged the most points per game in the country (52.4), and were in National Championship talks for a majority of the season.  QB Bryce Petty threw 32 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions and threw for 4,200 yards that season in Baylor’s spread offense.  While Oklahoma St. would demolish Baylor 49-17 in Week 10 and end their national title hopes, the 2013 season was a huge step for Baylor and Briles, who received a 10-year contract extension following that season.

In 2014, Baylor would once again finish 11-2 and average the most points per game in the nation (48.2) using Briles’ spread offense in which receivers would be spread out as far as possible in order to create favorable 1-on-1 match ups on the outside and to limit defenders inside the box.  Baylor would lose their second straight BCS Bowl, but Baylor football was on the rise.  That is, until, everything that was swept under the mat came flying out.

This season was a slight step back on the field, as the Bears went 10-3 and did not make a BCS Bowl.  Defensive Coordinator Phil Bennett, who went 18-53 as head coach at SMU and whose defense gave up 28.3 points per game this past season (80th in FBS), is the expected interim coach.  To say that tough times are ahead for Baylor would be an understatement.