Former Baylor head coach Art Briles is coming out of the shadows for the first time since being fired by Baylor earlier this year, essentially beginning his redemption tour as he hopes to return to coaching as soon as possible. In an interview with Tom Rinaldi of ESPN, Briles said he had made mistakes during his tenure at Baylor, which was marred by accusations the Baylor football program violated Title IX procedures to keep players eligible to play football.
“I made mistakes. I did wrong, but I’m not doing this trying to make myself feel better for apologizing,” Briles told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi. “I understand I made some mistakes. There was some bad things that went on under my watch. I was the captain of this ship. The captain of the ship goes down with it.”
Baylor hired the Pepper Hamilton law firm to conduct a thorough and independent investigation of the Baylor football program and athletics department following up on concerns about the way alleged Title IX violations had been handled. The report came back with scathing reviews, suggesting Baylor assistant coaches met with alleged victims in person, thus violating the Title IX response procedure sin place at the university. The culture of the Baylor football program was accused of placing an emphasis on winning above all else, which was a tough blow to the Briels legacy in Waco. Despite turning Baylor into a Big 12 contender, Briles was shown the door by the university. Ken Starr was also reassigned within the university from his role as president.
“So, I understand that I made some mistakes, and for that I’m sorry. But I’m not trying to plead for people’s sympathy. I’m just stating that, ‘Hey, I made some mistakes. I was wrong. I’m sorry. I’m gonna learn. I’m gonna do better.”
As quotes from Briles’ interview with ESPN began to hit the newswire, word of an investigation into the legitimacy of the Pepper Hamilton report from KWTX in Waco has suggested the report fell short of doing the job it was intended to do and took a few reaches on its findings. The report from KWTX concludes the Pepper Hamilton report came to the conclusion the Baylor board had already reached in response to the allegations against the program. Some sources connected to the report suggest there was no reason to fire Briles in the first place.
“There was no smoking gun,” one source told KWTX.
ESPN will air the full Briles interview during Saturday’s airing of College GameDay.