The 2016 Baylor Bears offseason can be summed up in one lone word: disaster. Well, two-words if you’d want to go a little further into how terrible it’s been: dumpster fire. And, it all falls down on the hands of one lone person who should have, and could have, handled everything that happened to this program differently, former head coach Art Briles.
If you were not aware of the incompetence that the former Baylor head coach displayed since the 2015 season ended let me catch you up to speed. The school came under fire when the university fired Briles after eight seasons as head coach. This was because of numerous reports of sexual assault by players under Briles’ Bears’ program.
“A report from Pepper Hamilton, an outside law firm hired by Baylor last fall, found the school “failed to take appropriate action to respond to reports of sexual assault and dating violence reportedly committed by football players. The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the University.” – USA Today
On top of the coach being dismissed the school’s president Ken Starr was removed as president, only to be transitioned into the role of chancellor. And, Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw was sanctioned and put on probation.
Briles, however, continues to act like none of this was his fault. Recently he showed up to a Houston Texans training camp with the audacity to play the victim saying,
“I’ve never done anything illegal, immoral or unethical.” And, continuing on “I think at the end of the day, all that will show itself, and I’m excited about coaching again, I really am. You know, if you lose your dog, all of a sudden you’re looking around hard for him. You’ll stay up late at night looking for him. I’ve lost my dog, my dog’s football, and I’m ready to go find him again.” – SI.com
Seems as if Briles was taking a page out of the movie “Billy Maddison” by reading “The Puppy Who Lost His Way” with that last quote.
The thing is, he’s right when he says that he will coach again. It could be in 2017 at some Division-I school that has fired its head coach after a losing season. Briles was very successful in his eight years at Baylor; taking it from a cupcake team to a Big-12 champion.
However, what is the most discouraging thing about this is coaches, like Briles, preach accountability to their players. We’ve seen these leaders give press conferences in somber tones saying how disappointed they are when one of their players get in trouble. But, when the shoe is on the other foot there’s zero action to say, “Hey, my bad I should have been more aware of what was going on in my locker room.”
Hopefully, wherever Briles coaches next, be it in college or at the NFL level, he’ll learn from what happened here and all of the hurt and pain it caused so many people. Because there’s a lot more in life than making it to a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Sometimes you have to step up, take ownership, and stop the negative acts even if it comes at the cost of winning.