In May, Baylor released a report on law firm Pepper Hamilton’s investigation into since-departed head coach Art Briles and the sexual-assault scandal at the university’s football program. The strange thing was that its report wasn’t actually a report; instead, it was a brief “finding of facts” that offered few actual facts.
The contents of the investigation—on which members of Baylor’s Board of Regents were briefed in May—have thus remained something of a mystery. They still are, but the Wall Street Journal has squeezed out some details from the university regents. The scandal, its regents sources say, “involved 17 women who reported sexual or domestic assaults involving 19 players, including four alleged gang rapes, since 2011.”
Further, the report’s sources say that Briles was told about at least one alleged gang rape and was supportive of the victim, but did nothing about it:
In one of the alleged gang rapes, the victim, who also was an athlete, told her coach that she didn’t want to go the police. When notified of the allegation, Mr. Briles told the victim’s coach that he hoped she would go to the police, according to people familiar with the matter. One person close to the victim said she viewed Mr. Briles as supportive of her claim. However, Mr. Briles didn’t notify the school’s judicial-affairs office or the Title IX office, these people said.
Briles’s lawyer, Ernest Cannon, claims that the regents speaking to the WSJ could violate a non-disparagement clause in Briles’s agreement with the school. (One mystery here is why these regents are speaking out, albeit on terms of anonymity, and why now.)
Before the regents fired Briles, they met with him in what they reported as a tearful meeting:
On May 24, two days before the board announced plans to fire Mr. Briles, he addressed regents in a conference room in an office tower across the Brazos River from the $266 million football stadium that opened in 2014.
Baylor regents said that when Mr. Briles was asked what he would have done differently, he broke down and wept. Many board members began to cry as well.
“He couldn’t speak he was so upset, and all of us were,” Mr. Gray said. “Art said, ‘I delegated down, and I know I shouldn’t have. And I had a system where I was the last to know, and I should have been the first to know.’”
Mr. Cannon said Mr. Briles quoted Scripture and expressed his regrets over the painful situation Baylor was in, but didn’t admit to wrongdoing.
In August, an unemployed Briles appeared at a practice for the Houston Texans and defended his reputation. “I’ve been in it 38 years, and I’ve done, you know, lived the right way for 60 years of my life,” Briles said. “I’ve never done anything illegal, immoral, unethical.”