Art BrilesThe former Baylor football coach, who was fired in 2016 after a university investigation found he and other coaches defied allegations of sexual harassment leveled against football players, was hired Thursday as Grambling State University’s offensive coordinator, school officials said.
Briles has not coached college football since being fired from Baylor, but he was head football coach at Mount Vernon High School in Texas before retiring in 2020. Briles, 66, also coached football in Florence, Italy in 2018.
Briles’ admission to Louisiana’s Grambling State, one of the most popular historically black colleges in the United States, immediately raised questions about the culture of the program under Hugh Jackson, the former head coach of the Cleveland Browns, who was hired to head the university’s football program in December.
Brian Howard, a sports department spokesman, said he would not officially announce Briles’ hiring or discuss his reasons for returning to American football. Howard added that Briles had given an interview to a reporter from local television station and discussed some of the controversy surrounding his stay at Baylor. The Briles segment was scheduled to air Thursday night.
The sexual assault scandal overshadowed Baylor for much of the 2010s, as its football program generated millions of dollars for the university. The third-party law firm’s indictment report included numerous allegations of sexual harassment against football players – allegations that were often deliberately not reported to the appropriate authorities. The investigation found that Baylor created “a cultural notion that football is above the rules”.
In response, university president Kenneth Starr was demoted to chancellor and eventually left. Athletic director Ian McCaw, who now holds the same position at Liberty University, has resigned. And Briles was fired.
The university reached a settlement with several women who reported harassment or assault and filed suit under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits gender discrimination at universities.
However, last year the NCAA rules that Baylor did not break its rules when it did not report the allegations of sexual harassment, even though the university admitted to repeated scandal-related errors. The committee wrote that the allegations against participants in Baylor’s football program, some of which led to criminal cases and convictions, affected not only student athletes but also took place in “a culture of sexual assault on campus.” Since the allegations were not limited to student-athletes, the committee concluded that it could not punish the university for violating NCAA rules.
After being fired, Briles apologized and admitted that he Made mistakes. He said that, looking back, he would have done differently at Baylor, where he had a 65-37 record and took a once-minor program for two Big 12 championships.
In 2017, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League hired Briles as an assistant coach, but less than 24 hours later, after receiving widespread public backlash, they refused and announced that he would not join the team.