Art Briles Speaks Out After Firing From Baylor

     WACO, Texas (CN) – Admitting to mistakes during his coaching career, fired Baylor University head football coach Art Briles questioned whether the rape scandal investigation by the Pepper Hamilton law firm was truly “independent.”
     Speaking out for the first time since Baylor’s Board of Regents suspended him with intent to terminate last week, Briles, 60, said Thursday morning the “complete scope of what happened here has not been disclosed.” He said he is “contractually obligated to remain silent on the matter.”
     The board ordered the external review last August as cases mounted accusing school officials of failing to take rape claims against football players seriously.
     “After 38 years of coaching, I have certainly made mistakes and, in hindsight, I would have done certain things differently,” Briles told CBS-affiliate KWTX-TV. “The report prepared by Pepper Hamilton, the law firm hired and paid for by Baylor’s Board of Regents, has not been shared with me directly, despite my full cooperation with the investigation. I can only assume that the report, which is not independent, supports the conclusions that the Board has already drawn. I hope to share with you what I was aware of as soon as I can so Baylor Nation can begin the healing process.”
     The board announced its intent to fire Briles, suspend athletic director Ian McCaw and demote president Ken Starr on May 26 after reviewing Pepper Hamilton’s findings. McCaw has since resigned.
     Starr was allowed to remain as chancellor, but he announced his resignation on Wednesday as a “matter of conscience.” Starr will remain on the faculty of Baylor Law School.
     Pepper Hamilton’s report concluded administrators “directly discouraged” some complainants from reporting a sexual assault and in one case retaliated against a complainant for reporting.
     “In addition to broader University failings, Pepper found specific failings within both the football program and Athletics department leadership, including a failure to identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player and to a report of dating violence,” the board said at the time. “There are significant concerns about the tone and culture within Baylor’s football program as it relates to accountability for all forms of student athlete misconduct.”
     Former student Jasmin Hernandez sued Baylor in April, claiming school counselors told her they were “too busy” to see her after she was allegedly raped by football player Tevin Elliott, who is serving 20 years for sexual assaults.
     She said her parents called Briles’ office but were never called back.
     The board confirmed that football coaches and staff “met directly with a complainant and/or a parent of a complainant and did not report the misconduct,” resulting in no action being taken, according to its 13-page finding of fact.
     Baylor settled an earlier lawsuit by an unidentified female student in January. She claimed she was assaulted by football player Sam Ukwuachu, who was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 10 years of probation and 400 hours of community service last year in McClennan County Court for sexual assault.
     Briles endured heavy criticism for recruiting Ukwuachu from Boise State University over allegedly having knowledge of earlier accusations against Ukwuachu.
     Briles said his “heart goes out” to the rape victims.
     “Sexual assault has no place on our campus or in our society,” he said. “As a father of two daughters, a grandfather, and a husband, my prayers are with the victims of this type of abuse, wherever they are.”
     A perennial loser since the founding of the Big 12 Conference in 1994, Baylor transformed into a national championship contender after Briles’ hiring in 2008.

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