Mac Engel

Mount Vernon had to know this was coming when it hired Art Briles as football coach

Every single administrator at Mount Vernon ISD had to know that once it announced Art Briles as the new football coach, as much outrage as it would cause, there would be moms and dads who would figure out a way to get their kid on the football team.

He would win. Their son would receive increased exposure and a better chance at a Division I football scholarship.

The mighty Mount Vernon Tigers are 5-0, and now here comes the exposure. Every staffer should have prepared for what happened this week.

Fair or not, the name “Briles” is still as toxic as Chernobyl.

This week, a pair of Mount Vernon football players were ruled ineligible by a District Executive Committee. The UIL will not force Mount Vernon to forfeit any games.

The district said the players had been cleared by the committee three weeks ago. Upon further review, the players have been declared ineligible for the remainder of the season.

The high school students can appeal the ruling.

The concern is that the players moved to Mount Vernon for athletic purposes, which is a UIL violation. It should be noted that it is a UIL violation that routinely occurs.

Unless Mount Vernon does not care, which it likely does, this was a scenario all of the adults had to be aware of when it hired Briles.

If this was any other high school team in Texas, few people notice, and only the district opponents would care. Look at any football power from San Antonio to Houston, to Fort Worth, to Austin, to Dallas. Families routinely relocate so their Johnny can play for a winner.

But when it is an Art Briles team, anything remotely construed as an infraction is a reason to mention his tenure, and exit, at Baylor.

When the news broke that Mount Vernon played with potentially ineligible players, the predictable cast of characters pulled out their laptops and phones, and they went to work.

This is why no college football program will touch him. The wins are wonderful, but for most administrators, they are not worth these sorts of headlines, and accusations of prioritizing a win above anything else in life.

Predictably, all of the headlines that Briles’ hiring generated faded quite quickly. Even when his team racked up wins, few noticed or paid much attention.

It is why a place like Mount Vernon, Texas, is perfect for him.

The moment his team had any loose affiliation with a violation, however, suddenly Mount Vernon is again a place, and a team, of interest.

That’s the way these things work.

Every adult involved at Mount Vernon had to know this was coming, and they had best take a few more minutes to review every “transfer” accordingly.

If it can be considered an infraction, the general public will assume the worst.

Not because it may be true, but because the last name is Briles.

BIG MAC BITES

The Dallas Cowboys are 7-point favorites against the New York Jets on Sunday in New Jersey. The only reason the line is this close is because Jets starting quarterback Sam Darnold is returning from a case of mono.

Darnold should have just kissed the same girl and shut it down for the rest of the season.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett warned us in preseason that the NFL did not want to get in the habit of overturning pass interference calls with instant replay.

The only reason PI calls are up for review now is because of the fiasco between the Saints and Rams that effectively decided the 2018 NFC title game.

Garrett told us that to overturn a PI call it must be obvious, that the NFL wanted to effectively dissuade coaches from challenging the calls.

Done and done.

We have seen plenty of instances when there is a pass interference and it is not being overturned after replay. The replay of PI calls is a waste of time and exists only to satiate the Saints.

Speaking of Jason Garrett, it only took nine seasons, but one of his former assistants has finally been named an NFL head coach.

This week, the Washington Redskins named Bill Callahan as interim head coach to replace the fired Jay Gruden. Callahan was a member of Garrett’s staff from 2012 to 2014.

Of course, Callahan probably will not be an NFL head coach after the season ... and Garrett could be saying the same thing.

The Dallas Mavericks’ fake season is underway, and their first team with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis is worth admission. Z is unguardable.

The only way a team can defend a 3-point shot by a 7-foot-2 player will be to sign a crane to the roster.

Now, please don’t mention the Mavs’ second unit. A crane may be a better scorer.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
Support my work with a digital subscription
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
  Comments