Regents at the University of Baylor have gone public with detailed accusations that former coach Art Briles was acutely aware of off-field allegations against his players.
First reported by the Houston Chronicle, three regents have alleged in documents that Briles questioned why a woman was with “bad dudes” from his football team after hearing of a gang rape accusation. The documents were filed in response to a defamation suit brought against regents and the school by a former athletic department administrator.
And Briles and [former athletic director Ian] McCaw allegedly discussed a gang rape that involved five football players. Rather than go through proper channels to report the incident, McCaw kept it in house and went to Briles and his staff.
“When he did, Coach Briles studied the names on the piece of paper. ‘Those are some bad dudes,’ Coach Briles told (an assistant) coach,” the document states. “ ’Why was she around those guys?’ ”
The regents were named in a suit by Briles alleging defamation by the university. Coincidentally — or perhaps not so much — Briles dropped the suit Wednesday.
The documents also allege Briles knew about five assaults in a four-year period by former football player Tevin Elliott, who is serving a prison sentence for rape. Along with Elliott, Sam Ukwuachu is also incarcerated on rape charges while former defensive end Shawn Oakman has been indicted for sexual assault.
Baylor fired Briles in May after an independent investigation into the way the school handled sexual assault allegations. Briles’ firing was only the beginning of the fallout from Baylor’s missteps, as multiple members of the Title IX compliance office have alleged wrongdoing and interference from university administrators.
While two football staffers were also removed from their duties, Briles was the only member of Baylor’s coaching staff who got the ax. Members of the coaching staff signed a message of support in favor of their fired boss in November, the night before Baylor was blown out by TCU.
According to the documents from the regents, Briles responded thusly when he was told of a player exposing himself to a female. From the suit:
On September 13 2013, Shillinglaw sent a text to Coach Briles about a player who got a massage and “supposedly exposed himself and asked for favors. She [masseuse] has a lawyer but wants us to handle with discipline and counseling.” Coach Briles’ first response was “What kind of discipline… She a stripper?” When Shillinglaw said the player made the request at a salon and spa while getting a massage, Coach Briles wrote, “Not quite as bad.”
In addition to those two instances, there’s also an allegation that Briles told an assistant coach he hoped a player’s citation for drinking alcohol as a minor would slip by unnoticed. The allegations are in response to Shillinglaw’s lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday. He accuses the school and regents of libel and slander and says he was fired because of false statements.
His suit accuses Baylor leadership of targeting the football team after the Pepper Hamilton investigation’s findings. Via ESPN:
“The goal of the Baylor Regents’ narrative was clearly to show that the leadership in the football program was the issue,” the lawsuit says. “To reinforce this perception, the Baylor Regents constantly pointed to the termination of football personnel as their solution.”
You can view the suit in full below via the Dallas Morning News. It also includes accusations that Briles had a player transfer after he was found to be selling drugs, though the sales weren’t reported to police. It also includes an accusation that a coach tried to talk a student out of filing a police report after allegations a football player made threats.
Briles made a public apology of sorts for his time at Baylor in an ESPN interview in September, though he didn’t specifically say what he was apologizing for. He contended in that interview that he didn’t always know of “minor issues” but that he was always made aware of “major issues.”
A main reason why he was fired from Baylor is because he allegedly didn’t act appropriately when it came to those major issues. In a Wall Street Journal report in November, regents said Briles didn’t report an accusation of gang rape to the Title IX office. The WSJ report mentioned four allegations of gang rape; it is unclear if the allegation that Briles allegedly knew of in the WSJ piece is the same mentioned in the Chronicle report.
McCaw, the athletic director when Briles was coach, resigned from the school shortly after Briles’ firing. Former president Ken Starr also announced his resignation over the summer after bumbling attempts to defend the way Baylor had conducted itself regarding the accusations and he too is included in the suit.
It alleges Starr overturned a suspension given to Elliott in the summer 2012 after the appeal deadline had passed. Starr made the decision after Briles had brought it to the university’s attention that Elliott wanted to appeal. The former player had previously missed a deadline for appeal.
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