Apparently for some of Baylor’s biggest donors, many of which helped fund the school’s 2-year-old sparkling stadium on the banks of the Brazos River, ensuring a top-notch football team plays in the building trumps the damning findings of an investigation into a series of rape and assault allegations against Baylor football players.
According to Chip Brown of Horns Digest, KWTX Channel 10 in Waco and USA Today, Baylor’s board of regents will meet Monday night to consider a one-year suspension for coach Art Briles instead of firing him. Brown reports that it is unclear if there would be enough votes to pave the way for Briles to return as head coach in 2017.
Dan Wolken of USA Today reported Monday morning that Baylor donors backing Briles are a “small minority” and that “at this point are considered to be on the margins.”
Briles was “suspended with intent to terminate” in late May, a decision that came down just before the school released a 13-page summary of the Pepper Hamilton investigation into how Briles, the football program, athletic department and university handled multiple allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence.
The school hired former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe as acting coach. Since the decision to severe ties with Briles — or at least the intention to do so — most of the players in the 2017 recruiting class have backed out of their commitments and some of the incoming players have requested to be allowed to leave and enroll at other schools.
More victims have come forward publicly since his firing, alleging that they were assaulted by Baylor football players and that their complaints were not acted upon by Baylor’s administration or the football program.
Less than two weeks ago, the executive committee of The Baylor Line Foundation called on the board of regents to immediately release the full Pepper Hamilton report of its investigation. The initial report released by the school highlighted the independent law firm’s findings, saying “the failures by administrators, the athletic department and football staff created a perception that “football was above the rules.”
Specific to Briles and the football program, the report concluded the football staff conducted its own investigations, outside of school policy, and had its own system of discipline: “The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the university,” the report said.