The Big Mac Blog

Baylor leadership fails its family, new coach and recruits

Other than Ken Starr’s personally butchered crusade against the Baylor Board of Regents, the only person from Baylor to talk since the school acknowledged this scandal is a fiasco is the football coach who has hired Monday.

Starr’s orchestrated spin was not a Baylor-sponsored endeavor; Starr paid a PR person to line up a series of interviews, including one with a Waco TV station that was effectively a pie in the face.

Rather than have a single member of the board of regents, or the acting president, verbally address anything, Baylor threw out Jim Grobe as the first official staff member to meet the public, which he did on Friday afternoon at McLane Stadium.

Apparently janitorial staffers were not available before Grobe to take questions.

Say this for Baylor University, it is consistent. No one has dodged oncoming tacklers better than the leadership that runs Baylor University.

Everything from Baylor has been through email and press releases.

Baylor offered up poor Jim Grobe to answer a slew of questions when it should have been a member of the administration who has been here for at least one year, not a guy who has been here for five days.

While he handled every question well and he is the better alternative to Baylor alum Mike Singletary as this team’s coach, this school’s leadership owes its alums and the “Baylor Family” to get a clue.

This is Cowardly Leadership 101. Don’t preach accountability, responsibility and leadership and then push Jim Grobe out in front of the cameras and microphones.

Nonetheless, Grobe accounted for himself well despite terrible circumstances.

Few times has an introductory press conference for a head football coach ever been so muted. Even though Grobe once interviewed for this job but lost out to Guy Morriss, no one at Baylor wants this guy here.

They want the fired guy but Art Briles ain’t walking through that door.

Grobe said all of the right things, from the fact that he will keep the same offense and defense, to the cliche “zero tolerance” and “good citizens” to leaving any type of Title IX issues to Title IX officers.

He also said the assistant coaches - which include Art Briles’ son and son in law - will remain on staff. I asked Grobe if he was aware that the status of the current staff could potentially be affected by the Pepper Hamilton report.

“I know of absolutely no issues or problems,” Grobe said.

As for the issue of allowing the 2016 class of recruits out of their commitments - Grobe said he wants to be able to talk to the parents and the kids, and they will follow the NCAA guidelines. That is not good news “for the kids.”

The 2017 class is, predictably, fleeing and seven incoming freshmen reportedly want out right now.

If you ever wanted to hate the NCAA, this is a good of a reason as any. The appeals process to get out of a commitment can take months, and there is no guarantee these freshmen can leave without officially transferring from a school they have not even attended.

This 2016 class signed with Baylor because of Art Briles and once he was fired they should all be allowed to go elsewhere.

The single biggest reason kids go to a football program is the coach; once Briles was fired Baylor should have let any of those signees out.

At least according to one parent, Grobe and his staff is not doing that without a fight.

Highly coveted freshmen cornerback Parrish Cobb of nearby Waco La Vega high school has repeatedly asked out of his commitment but the Baylor staff is not helping.

Cobb’s father, Collis, and his mother both stood outside of McLane Stadium on Friday afternoon talking to any member of the media to spread their plight while hoping to speak to a member of the Baylor staff.

Collis Cobb said he met with defensive coordinator Phil Bennett and Grobe at his house on Wednesday for two hours to “hear them out.”

After the meeting, Collis Cobb asked for his son’s release. Collis Cobb said Bennett told him, “You are going to have to go through the (NCAA) appeals process.”

Cobb also told me, “If they had kept Coach Briles he would have come here.”

Cobb said he was not aware of “what was going on” at Baylor over the past 10 months, which is rather incredible but ... draw your own conclusions.

Cobb’s case is a brutal, one-sided reality of NCAA football.

Head coaches often leave recruits, or incoming freshmen, high and dry if they take an NFL position, or another college job, but the case of Briles’ firing is exceptional.

Baylor’s leadership needs to do the right thing by the kids who committed to Briles in February and let them out if that is their wish.

Of course, “Baylor leadership” and “right thing” aren’t exactly good friends these days.

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