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UPDATE (8:30 p.m. ET)
Acting Baylor coach Jim Grobe clarified his remarks on Baylor’s culture in an afternoon session with reporters at Big 12 media days Tuesday. Here’s what he said in the afternoon, via USA Today.
“I have to talk about what I’ve found since I’ve been at Baylor, not what happened before I got there because obviously there was a problem in the culture dealing with these issues. That’s why we don’t have a president, an (athletics director) and a football coach and some staff members that were released,” Grobe said. “The only thing I can talk about is to let you know that since I’ve been at Baylor, the kids that are on our football team are really, really good kids. That’s what I’ve seen.
“When you talk about a culture, you kind of throw everybody under a blanket. I can only talk about what I’ve seen with our team since I’ve gotten here. We have a lot of quality, quality kids and I think we’ve got some moms and dads that are upset because when you start talking about a culture, that tends to say everybody.”
Acting Baylor head coach Jim Grobe defended his employer during Big 12 media days on Tuesday. And that defense is understandable; as the face of Baylor’s program in the post-Briles era, Grove has said he considers himself to be the “cleaner” at Baylor.
But he probably could have phrased his defense of Baylor a little differently at the Omni Hotel in Dallas.
When he was asked about “changing the culture” at Baylor, Grobe made sure to note other schools were dealing with the same problems Baylor is. And that Baylor didn’t “have a culture of bad behavior.”
“I think most people understand this, the majority of our kids are great kids,” Grobe said. “I mean great kids. It’s a shame when a few guys can really hurt a large group of people in such a devastating way, really.
“So from our standpoint, what I want to do is let people know that the majority of our kids are fantastic kids and their programs, the problems that we’re dealing with at Baylor or have dealt with at Baylor to this point are probably problems at every university in the country. I hate to say every one, but I’m guessing most universities are having some of the same issues we’ve had at Baylor.”
“Unbelievably I’ve had people tell me they don’t think they dealt with it strongly enough. But I think going forward, do we want to learn from our past mistakes? We absolutely want to learn from our past mistakes and we’re doing that. Baylor University right now is better than ever because we have confronted some problems and made changes in the way we deal with problems going forward – and I’m talking about serious problems. I’m not talking aboutmissing class and late to weights and those type of things.”
Yes, it is a shame that the actions of a few can affect the lives of many. And it’s a shame that sexual assault is an issue that’s not limited to Baylor. But a huge part of the problems at Baylor, as outlined in the independent investigation into the school’s actions, was the way the school handled sexual assault allegations. After all, the investigation – or what we know of it publicly – was so damning that it meant the firing of coach Art Briles and the resignations of president Ken Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw.
Grobe’s claims of “we’re not alone!” are an odd defense on their own. They’re even odder when it comes a day after the commissioner of the conference (who also awkwardly handled the issue of sexual assault) says Baylor’s fellow Big 12 schools feel the university sullied the conference’s reputation and on the morning of Baylor’s presentation to the league about the investigation in an effort to avoid league sanctions.
Grobe also noted that he felt just a few of the players who decommitted from Baylor in the wake of the controversy around the school were “difference-makers.” The team is down to 70 scholarship players, 15 under the 85-player limit.
“The decommits, there were probably about – and I’m going to give you a ballpark – I think there were probably four kids that were difference-maker type kids and we’re really disappointed to lose them.
“There were some kids that were probably project kids that needed to develop, so I think we can in this recruiting class coming up, we can replace them.”
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