Right or wrong, this is probably the only move Baylor could make for the short-term.
Buried in an email announcing the details surrounding the start of summer camp, Baylor revealed that interim head coach Jim Grobe “will be the only member of the coaching staff available to address the media this fall.” In other words, no Bears assistants will be permitted to speak to the media.
While numerous football programs hold to a similar in-season policy, it’s a drastic departure for a program widely considered one of the more media-friendly in the country. Then again, drastic times call for drastic measures.
In a summary of the independent review into allegations of sexual assaults committed by BU football players, it’s alleged that unnamed Bears football coaches, some still with the program, essentially took matters into their own hands — and even further — when notified of potential issues. From the summary released the day of Art Briles’ firing:
…some football coaches and staff took improper steps in response to disclosures of sexual assault or dating violence that precluded the University from fulfilling its legal obligations. Football staff conducted their own untrained internal inquiries, outside of policy, which improperly discredited complainants and denied them the right to a fair, impartial and informed investigation, interim measures or processes promised under University policy.
In early June, another controversy erupted at the university, and this one with a specific name attached to it — BU running backs coach/passing-game coordinator Jeff Lebby, who also happens to be Briles’ son-in-law. Here’s a portion of our post from that day:
The latest controversy to hit both the Baylor football program and the university came Tuesday, with the girlfriend of former Bears running back Devin Chafin alleging he committed a brutal assault on her in March of 2014 and that Bears coaches Art Briles and Jeff Lebby knew of the attack but did nothing. Chafin, dismissed from the team last week in the wake of the initial allegations, responded to the accusations by claiming that the woman, Dolores Lozano, had “falsely constructed” her accounts of events.
Perhaps the most damning aspect of the story, at least as it pertains to how the BU football coaching staff is currently constructed, is that Chafin also confirmed that he had spoken to Lebby about the incident or incidents. Lebby remains on staff as the Bears’ passing-game coordinator and running backs coach, prompting the university to release yet another statement:
We are committed to learning from the experiences of our students and former students as Baylor implements the improvements identified in the Pepper Hamilton recommendations. Because of the complex nature of dating and domestic violence, even when complainants report abuse to the police, their school and others, complainants may be reluctant to move forward with a campus or criminal investigation. In developing informed and sensitive responses, we must be open to understanding the unique dynamics of dating and domestic violence, including individual barriers and safety considerations, and to supporting our students as they evaluate their options. Further, we are actively taking steps to ensure all of our students understand and trust the full range of resources available to them.
No Baylor assistants, including Lebby, were let go in the wake of Briles’ firing.
Quite obviously, the university in general and the athletic department specifically does not want the media questioning those remaining assistants about what role if any they may have had in the allegations. Hence, again, right or wrong, the media ban for Grobe’s staff.