Reports: Some on Baylor board want to bring back Art Briles (Update)

Sam Cooper

Update: June 14 - Noon ET

Did Baylor discuss Art Briles' future Monday night?

A preliminary vote by Baylor's Board of Regents regarding Briles was "very close" according to KWTX.

However, no details regarding the vote were available and a spokesperson for the school refuted the report via ESPN.

Update: June 13 - 8:30 p.m. ET

Baylor interim president David Garland told WFAA that the BU board's Monday night meeting is not about Art Briles. 

In fact, he said he was "caught off guard" by various reports Monday indicating the board would vote on bringing Briles back in 2017.

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

"The meeting was scheduled before, and for quite a different issue," Garland said.

Garland did concede that some want Briles back, but was clear that the school's leadership has priorities other than football.

"A lot of fans love what the coach did on the football field, and you can understand that," he said. "But other factors have to be taken into consideration."

Original story: June 13 - 9:30 a.m.

Could Art Briles return to the sideline as Baylor head coach?

According to a report from’s Chip Brown, the school’s board of regents will “consider a one-year suspension” for Briles when it meets on Monday. Bleacher Report’s Jason King and KWTX also reported the news.

According to Brown, the push to vote for Briles’ return in 2017 is “being driven by some of the biggest big-money donors at the school – many of whom helped fund BU’s $300 million football stadium that opened in 2014.” Briles is said to have met with “some key figures associated with the school last Thursday.”

Bob Simpson, part owner of the Texas Rangers, appears to be one figure in Briles' corner.

However, USA Today reported that though there is support for Briles' return among "a faction of voices within the school's board of regents," the voices are "few in number" and action to bring back the coach is "unlikely."

From USA Today:

While a small minority of Baylor donors have been pushing behind the scenes to bring back Art Briles as football coach in 2017 — effectively giving him a one-year suspension — it is unlikely to result in any action, USA TODAY Sports has learned.

A person with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the discussions, said there is indeed a faction of voices within the school’s Board of Regents still supporting Briles and urging the school to bring him back. But those voices, the person said, were few in number at this point and considered to be on the margins.

Briles was “suspended indefinitely with intent to terminate” by the board on May 26 as it released summary findings from an investigation into the school’s handling of sexual assault allegations. The investigation, conducted by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, found “specific failings within both the football program and athletics department leadership” and said there were “significant concerns about the tone and culture within Baylor’s football program as it relates to accountability for all forms of student-athlete misconduct.”

According to Brown's report, some at Baylor believe the weight of the scandal should fall on the shoulders of Ken Starr, BU’s former president and chancellor. Starr was removed as president the same day Briles was "suspended," but stayed on as chancellor until resigning earlier this month.

From Horns Digest:

There are those among the Baylor leadership who feel the major failings of the BU rape scandal fall on former president Ken Starr for the school not having a Title IX coordinator from 2011-2014, sources said. If BU had a Title IX coordinator, the football coaching staff would have had training on how to handle any complaints of rape made against football players, sources said.

Those members of the BU leadership who say Briles should have been spared while Starr should have been the fall guy for the scandal are getting a lot of pressure from big-money donors who say they'll stop giving to the university if Briles isn't brought back as coach in 2017, sources said.

If there aren’t a sufficient number of votes to bring back Briles, a settlement between “$15 million and $25 million” could be on the table for the coach, Brown's report said. According to KWTX, a vote is scheduled for Monday night.

In the interim, Baylor hired former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe as “acting head coach” for 2016. All of Briles’ assistants, including his son Kendal, the Bears’ offensive coordinator, were retained. 

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!