While the world is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, there’s another storm brewing in Louisiana: The University of Grambling has hired an ex-police officer who was fired for racism and other misconduct allegations. Is this good or bad?
The “grambling state football coaches” is an article about the Grambling State University hiring ex-coaches. The head coach of the team, Doug Williams, has been a coach for over 25 years.
Art Briles, who was ousted as Baylor’s head football coach in 2016 after the institution launched an inquiry into campus-wide sexual assault claims, has been hired as Grambling State’s offensive coordinator, according to athletic director Trayvean Scott.
Hue Jackson, the former head coach of the Cleveland Browns, was appointed as the head coach at Grambling State in December.
Briles, 66, has not coached at a collegiate level since May 2016, when Baylor administrators suspended him with the aim to fire him for his participation after sexual assault accusations against students, including football players. He eventually negotiated an undisclosed salary agreement with Baylor, where he coached from 2008 to 2015, compiling a 65-37 record and sharing back-to-back Big 12 championships in 2013 and 2014.
Briles was asked what he hopes to do differently at Grambling State in an interview with KTAL-TV in Shreveport, Louisiana, on Thursday.
“I’ll do exactly what I’m supposed to do and what they expect of me, which is to be a very good citizen, a positive leader on a daily basis, to do everything I can to protect our students and student-athletes on campus, and to represent Grambling University to the best of my ability because I’m very humble and grateful to be here,” he said.
In a phone interview with ESPN on Thursday, Scott said he spent around ten days investigating Briles before publicly endorsing Jackson’s hiring choice. He said that Jackson has the authority to bring coaching candidates forward, and that Scott evaluated Briles after Jackson proposed him.
Scott told ESPN’s Pete Thamel, “I’m based in reality.” “I’m aware that a lot has been said and done. We thought it [was acceptable] to give him an opportunity to really rehabilitate himself now that we know the truth.”
Briles had “a few other options” to coach “right now,” according to Scott, who also said that the school “done the research” on his background. He claimed he’d talked with Briles many times and was “able to go ahead in support of Coach Jackson’s proposal” because to his investigation.
When asked why he felt comfortable hiring Briles when many other schools and organizations didn’t, Scott said ESPN, “I believe the guy really wants to teach and lead guys.” “We’re not talking about an ideal environment or undervaluing previous actions and their consequences. He understands and sympathizes with what happened.”
Doug Williams, a legendary Grambling State graduate, told ESPN’s John Keim that he is “not a fan” of Briles’ appointment.
“It definitely placed me in a difficult spot as a Grambling football booster,” Williams told Keim. “I’m not familiar with Art Briles, but it bothers me.”
In the last several weeks, Williams said he communicated with Scott and school president Rick Gallot.
“I’m having an issue with it because other colleges aren’t interested in it, but he’s coming to a Black school and we’re going to take him in,” Williams said to Keim. “I have an issue with it, a tremendous issue with it. I’m afraid I won’t be able to support it. Right then, it stung me to the core…. I’m aware that [late] coach [Eddie] Robinson is in the process of resigning.”
KTAL-TV questioned Briles about individuals who were critical of the move.
He said, “It’s difficult to control what other people believe.” “All I ask is that people look at everything with an open mind and a compassionate heart.”
The NCAA put Baylor on four years probation in August, but determined that Briles and the institution had not broken any regulations by their delay. Baylor and Briles did not breach NCAA standards by neglecting to disclose complaints of sexual and interpersonal violence on campus, according to the Committee on Infractions.
While a former Baylor president called the school’s treatment of sexual abuse a “colossal operational failure,” the committee pointed out that current NCAA regulations prevent the Committee on Infractions from punishing institutions for how they handled such concerns.
“You report what you know,” says the narrator. Briles told KTAL-TV, “We did the best we could at the time.” “It didn’t seem to be good enough — it didn’t seem to be good enough.”
“I apologize to everyone who has suffered as a result of it.”
Briles was the head coach of an American football squad in Italy in 2018. In August 2017, he was hired by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, but the franchise backed out the next day after getting flak over the choice.
Coach Jay Hopson of Southern Miss tried to hire Briles as his offensive coordinator in February 2019, but institution president Rodney Bennett vetoed him.
Hopson disagreed with the school’s decision, writing in a statement, “I feel he is a guy who deserves a second opportunity.” “In his interview, he seemed honest [and] modest, and he had done no wrongdoing himself. He may not have followed policy, but that should be my responsibility at Southern Miss! Even though I think he will be a head coach at a large institution in the near future, he was interviewing for an assistant role.”
In September 2020, Hopson resigned as coach of Southern Miss after just one game.
In 2019 and 2020, Briles coached at Mount Vernon High School in Texas.
Following the public disclosure of several sexual assault and domestic violence allegations involving football players, Baylor’s investigation into its handling of sexual violence complaints resulted in the firing of Briles, the demotion of president Ken Starr, and the suspension of athletic director Ian McCaw in May 2016. Soon after, Starr and McCaw departed Baylor.
Pepper Hamilton, a Philadelphia law firm hired by Baylor’s board of regents to examine whether the school handled complaints of sexual assault by students, including football players, was scathing of the football program’s culture and Briles’ player punishments. Baylor’s football players, according to Pepper Hamilton’s conclusions, are “above the rules” and have “no culture of responsibility for misbehavior.”
The results “show serious concerns about the tone and culture inside Baylor’s football program as it pertains to responsibility for all kinds of athlete wrongdoing,” according to Pepper Hamilton. It also chastised the football team for failing to properly screen transfer students, such as former Boise State defensive end Sam Ukwuachu and Penn State defensive end Shawn Oakman, who were both accused of sexual assault at Baylor.
In October 2013, Ukwuachu was found guilty of sexually abusing a former Baylor women’s soccer player. After being fired by then-Boise State coach Chris Petersen in 2013, he went to Baylor. Boise State never explained why Ukwuachu was dismissed from the squad.
Oakman was accused of sexually abusing a graduate student in April 2016 after transferring to Baylor after being thrown off the squad at Penn State. Oakman was acquitted by a jury in February 2019.
Tevin Elliott, a former Baylor athlete, was found guilty of January 2014 of rapping a student at an off-campus party in 2012. He was given a 20-year jail term and a $10,000 fine. While at the institution, Elliott was also accused of physically abusing or sexually assaulting four other women.
Briles admitted responsibility for the Baylor football program’s improper handling of sexual assault claims involving athletes in a September 2016 interview with ESPN.
“Some horrible things occurred while I was in charge,” Briles said. “And for that, I apologize… I was mistaken. Sorry for the inconvenience. I’m going to educate myself. I’m going to improve.”
Briles said he understood why victims of his team’s players were angry with him.
“I’d apologize profusely to them.” “It absolutely disgusts me that another human being might be victimized,” he remarked. “And it has no place in our society.” And I’ve never condoned it, will never condone it, and will never tolerate it.
“These players are participants in and ambassadors for our program. When they make a mistake, it reflects poorly on me and the institution. As a result, I am aware of my duty.”
Andrea Adelson of ESPN and Paula Lavigne of ESPN contributed to this article.
- hue jackson