Grambling State set to hire ex-Baylor head coach Art Briles as offensive coordinator

Art Briles is back in college football.

Briles, who was fired as Baylor’s head coach in May 2016 amid a major sexual assault scandal, has been hired as Grambling State’s offensive coordinator, according to multiple reports. Grambling State previously denied hiring Briles but confirmed the news on Thursday.

Briles, 66, had a two-year run as a high school head coach in Texas in 2019 and 2020, but has not coached at the college level since he was fired by Baylor following the 2015 season.

At Grambling State, an HBCU that plays in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (FCS), he will join the staff of newly hired head coach Hue Jackson, the longtime NFL coach who went 3-36 as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

NCAA panel: Art Briles’ attitude ‘deeply troubling’

The NCAA’s investigation into Baylor centered on “allegations that Baylor shielded football student-athletes from the school's disciplinary processes and did not report allegations of misconduct by football student-athletes.”

When it finally released the results of the investigation into Baylor in August 2021, the NCAA said the school “failed to report allegations of and address sexual and interpersonal violence committed on its campus," particularly in Briles’ football program.

The panel overseeing the investigation said it gave “careful scrutiny” to Briles’ handling of "specific instances of alleged sexual assault, interpersonal violence and threats of violence" that were the focus of the case.

The panel said that when Briles received information regarding “potential criminal conduct” by one of his players, he “did not report the information” or “personally look any further into the matter.”

The NCAA panel described Briles’ attitude toward “potential criminal conduct” by his players, including alleged sexual violence, as “incurious” and “deeply troubling.” On top of that, the panel said in its decision that Briles "failed to meet even the most basic expectations of how a person should react to the kind of conduct at issue in this case."

"As a campus leader, the head coach is held to an even higher standard. He completely failed to meet this standard," the report said.

FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2015, file photo, Baylor coach Art Briles stands in the tunnel before the team's NCAA college football game against Texas in Waco, Texas. Former Baylor coach Briles conceded months ago that the sexual assault scandal that led to his firing likely ended his career. That's not the case for some of his former assistants, including his son Kendal Briles. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
Former Baylor head coach Art Briles has not coached at the college level since he was fired in May 2016 amid a sexual assault scandal. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Briles not facing NCAA punishment

Despite what was uncovered during his time as Baylor’s head coach, Briles’ conduct did not fall under the purview of NCAA violations. Because Briles has no NCAA penalties, like a show-cause, attached to him, Grambling State can hire him.

The NCAA said its rules do not call for the Committee on Infractions to “adjudicate” how universities respond to issues like the handling of sexual assault allegations.

“Baylor admitted to moral and ethical failings in its handling of sexual and interpersonal violence on campus but argued those failings, however egregious, did not constitute violations of NCAA rules,” an NCAA panel said.

Briles, 66, was the head coach at Baylor from 2008 to 2015. Before that, he was the head coach at Houston, had a stint as a Texas Tech assistant and was a longtime high school coach in Texas.

In 2017, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League hired Briles, but the job offer was rescinded amid public backlash. In 2018, Briles coached an American football team in Italy. In 2019, Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson (who has since resigned), tried to hire Briles as his offensive coordinator. School officials overruled that decision.