Sources: Push For Briles On Life Support

Sources tell a push by a group of influential big-money donors at Baylor to bring back Art Briles as football coach after a one-year suspension is on life support.

A Baylor spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday that during a previously scheduled regents meeting via conference call Monday night there was no vote on whether to bring back Briles as Baylor's football coach in 2017. 

"As has been reported, the Baylor Board of Regents did meet last night to discuss a variety of matters," the statement said. "We can confirm there was no vote regarding the employment status of Art Briles."

Two sources close to the situation said the lack of a vote by the 34 voting members of Baylor's regents board was an indication there isn't enough support to bring back Briles after a one-year suspension, and it should be considered a dead issue. But another source said not to completely shut the door on the idea until a meeting later in the week involving regents on the topic of Briles. 

That meeting could involve some of the big-money donors who have contributed the most to Baylor's $300 million football stadium that opened in 2014, the source said. The meeting could simply be about how best to settle and part ways with Briles, the source said.

An influential group of big-money donors believe former school president Ken Starr is more to blame for the school's mishandling of rape and assault claims involving football players than Briles, because Starr failed to implement a Title IX coordinator from 2011 through 2014 to help handle those claims, the source said. 

Baylor booster Bob Simpson, a co-owner of the Texas Rangers, told The Dallas Morning News he supports bringing Briles back.

"We'd like to see that," Simpson told the DMN.

Sources have told HD an investigation by the Pepper Hamilton law firm into Baylor's mishandling of rape and assault claims revealed 125 such claims were made campus-wide from 2011 through 2014 with 12 of those involving football/athletics. Critics of Starr say his lack of implementing a Title IX coordinator until 2014 was disastrous.

Critics of Briles say the fact at least six Baylor football players were named in rape or assault complaints from 2009-2016, including two players who were convicted of rape (Tevin Elliott and Sam Ukwuachu), shows Briles and his program were negligent in the types of players being brought in and how they were managed.

HD has previously reported that Baylor is in the process of reaching a financial settlement with Starr over his position as a tenured professor in the BU law school so that Starr will be completely dissociated with the school. Starr was removed as school president and then resigned his position of chancellor.

While Starr has indicated the regents board should make the entire Pepper Hamilton report available to the public, multiple sources indicated to HD there is no paper copy of the report. After Baylor commissioned the law firm to investigate the school's handling of rape and assault claims on campus, the law firm was advised to provide only verbal briefings on its findings to members of the regents board, sources said.

Baylor interim president David Garland has indicated the school has released all its going to release with regard to the Pepper Hamilton investigation, which included a 13-page, "Findings of Fact" summary. ... 

If the door is slammed shut on the idea of bringing Briles back as football coach in 2017, the school would move on to the matter of settling Briles' contract. Briles had eight years with just less than $40 million in guaranteed money remaining on his contract and would likely get a settlement for between $15 million and $25 million, sources told HD.


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