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Is The Big 12 Ready For The Baylor Fallout?

Robert Allen explains what impact the firing of Baylor head coach Art Briles will have on the Big 12.

Writing about how Baylor's administration and football staff made some very bad decisions with regard to multiple incidents or accusations of sexual assault involving various students including athletes and football players. Quoting the Pepper Hamilton Report, which Baylor solicited a renowned Philadelphia law firm to conduct as an investigation into the allegations and situations involving sexual assault on the Waco campus, is not my duty. However, there is something to talk about here.

Just how does all of this activity and especially the firing of head football coach Art Briles impact Oklahoma State and others in the Big 12? That is where my duty picks up.

The fallout and the impact from the meltdown by the Baylor University Board of Regents and the decisions they came out with on Thursday will be two-fold when it comes to opposing schools in the Big 12. The Bears will be hurt in competition and some school had better be ready to step up because the last three seasons Baylor has been about as good as the Big 12 has got.

The Board of Regents announced that University President Ken Starr has been stripped of his presidency and is now chancellor of the school. An interim president has been named and the search for a full-time replacement is ongoing. Athletic Director Ian McCaw is on probation but is expected to be kept.

Head football coach Art Briles is out, suspended indefinitely with the intention to terminate. Baylor players were informed with a text message from Briles. The Baylor announcement named defensive coordinator and former SMU head coach Phil Bennett as interim head coach, and also noted that Kendall Briles, son of the head coach and currently the Baylor offensive coordinator, would also be retained.

The coaching staff in place will help and the team can move toward the season with some sense of stability. However, the story will not go away. It will be brought up often and in many cases the media and public will make it seem like the current players at Baylor were involved. This will wear down a team. It's like an albatross around your neck. No matter how much you shut yourself off from social media the attack on Baylor will flood the media and the public. It can wear a team down.

Also, while I am a big Phil Bennett fan and a friend, and I think he would be an excellent choice for permanent head coach, I can see the powers to be at Baylor wanting to make a clean break after this season and going outside and bringing in an entirely new staff. That uncertainty will also impact a team.

Here is where the impact will be the most on Baylor and possibly on a few other teams that will be on the bit and after Baylor recruits. Yes, schools are already contacting Baylor recruits. Wide receiver Hezekiah Jones is a speedster out of Stafford, Texas and he is being pursued, as is his Satfford teammate safety Jalen Pitre. Jayden Peevy is a big 6-6, 275-pound defensive tackle out of Houston Bellaire. Junior college defensive tackle Wiley Lester of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M has turned his phone off to try to avoid the constant calls. He's thinking about what his decision is going to be.

Not only the current recruiting class but you wonder what the incoming freshmen will do reporting for summer school here in about a week. They could seek a release as there is a precedence for it. Not many schools right now have any scholarships to give and are bumping the 85 limit, but some do and you can bet they will be checking the web and the Baylor athletics website.

Competition could sag and Baylor be out of the first half of the league but most assuredly recruiting will be impacted and a school that has been recruiting as well as any in Texas is about to find out how fast that can dry up.


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