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Baylor statement: Art Briles, others had responsibility to report gang rape, didn’t

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Just when you thought the image of Baylor and its football program couldn’t get any worse, it does.

Late last month, BU regents told the Wall Street Journal that 17 women reported sexual or domestic assaults in alleged incidents involving 19 football players since 2011. “There was a cultural issue there that was putting winning football games above everything else, including our values,” one of the regents, J. Cary Gray, was quoted in the story as describing the program under then-head coach Art Briles.

Late last week, during a meeting with the Dallas Morning News, another regent, David Harper, made the explosive allegation that Briles was made aware in 2013 of a 2012 gang rape involving football players and a female student-athlete and didn’t report it to the proper authorities either at the university or in law enforcement.  In response to those allegations, current Bears assistant coaches and football staffers released a tweeted statement of support for Briles shortly thereafter in which they, in part, claimed that the alleged victim’s head sports coach (HSC) said that he thought “Coach Briles handled the matter honorably and with the attention it deserved.” The statement further claimed that the HSC “informed Art Briles that he reported the incident to (then) athletic director Ian McCaw and Judicial Affairs.”

Briles’ former employer would beg to differ.

In a press release sent out Friday night titled “Statement to Dallas Morning News regarding sexual assault not reported to Judicial Affairs,” BU claimed that the university’s investigation showed that “neither the head coach, the Athletic Director, the sports administrator or the football coach disclosed the reported sexual assault to Baylor’s Judicial Affairs or to anyone else outside of the Athletics Department.” According to the school’s statement, all of those who knew of the alleged sexual assault, including Briles, had “reporting responsibilities” and should have reported the incident to one of three places: the university’s Title IX coordinator (then the VP of Human Resources), Judicial Affairs, or the Baylor University Police Department.

“In this case,” a portion of the statement Friday night read, “the University can find no information that would support a conclusion that the student-athlete’s head coach – or any other Athletics Department personnel – reported the incident to Judicial Affairs in 2013 or at any time since.”

Below is the school’s statement, in its entirety:

In response to multiple questions about a former Baylor coach who claims to have talked to Judicial Affairs in 2013 about an allegation that one of his student-athletes had been sexually assaulted at a party by several football players, Baylor responded as follows:

To place the news accounts in context, here are the facts about the underlying report of sexual assault: In April 2013, a female student-athlete reported to her head coach that she had been sexually assaulted by five Baylor football players approximately one year earlier. The student-athlete provided her head coach with the names of the involved football players. The head coach immediately reported the assault, including the names of the reported players, to the then-Athletic Director, to the head football coach, and to the sports administrator for the female student-athlete’s team. According to Baylor’s investigation, neither the head coach, the Athletic Director, the sports administrator or the football coach disclosed the reported sexual assault to Baylor’s Judicial Affairs or to anyone else outside of the Athletics Department.

Under Title IX and Clery, a University must have campus policies and procedures for the reporting and investigation of reported sexual assaults. This is in addition to any criminal law enforcement action a victim may seek. Many university employees have reporting responsibilities and if they learn of a reported sexual assault, they must share the report with the designated official on campus. In 2013, Athletic Department coaches and staff should have reported the incident to one of three places: the University’s Title IX Coordinator (then the VP of Human Resources), Judicial Affairs, or the Baylor University Police Department, all of whom would have been in a position to assist the victim and take responsive action. While a victim may choose where or how to report a sexual assault, once informed of the report, athletics personnel may not exercise discretion to not report.

In this case, the University can find no information that would support a conclusion that the student-athlete’s head coach – or any other Athletics Department personnel – reported the incident to Judicial Affairs in 2013 or at any time since. Baylor University reviewed all of the evidence and found:

  • Over the course of the past year, the student-athlete’s head coach, his sports administrator, the head football coach, and the Athletic Director have each independently confirmed to the University – in some instances, on multiple occasions – that they did not report this sexual assault allegation to Judicial Affairs in 2013.

  • An independent review of Judicial Affairs records and interviews with employees confirm that the alleged sexual assault was not reported to Judicial Affairs in 2013 by any member of the Athletics Department or any other individual.

  • In early 2015, Baylor’s Title IX Office first learned of the sexual assault allegation in connection with three other reports of sexual assault involving multiple football players. At the time, the Athletic Director was asked if he had any prior knowledge of an alleged gang rape within the football program. He denied having any knowledge of the alleged incident. Later in 2015, for the first time, the Athletic Director acknowledged that the student-athlete’s head coach told him about this report in 2013. The Athletic Director explained that he did not take any action, including reporting the alleged sexual assault to Judicial Affairs, because he thought the victim did not want to report the incident.

  • In a voluntary statement on June 2, 2016 and a sworn affidavit on June 24, 2016, the victim’s head coach again detailed his actions after learning of the gang rape allegation. His account was consistent with the account he provided to Baylor in the spring of 2016. In neither of the statements, nor in his interview, did the head coach state that he reported the alleged assault to Judicial Affairs. To the contrary, he expressed his great disappointment and frustration that he could not do more to help the student-athlete despite bringing the report to the attention of his sports administrator, the head football coach, and the Athletic Director.

Third Maryland player tears ACL this offseason, with LB Durell Nchami being the latest

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Maryland has seen a player sidelined for a significant period of time by a serious knee injury.

The latest Terrapin to suffer such a setback is Durell Nchami, with first-year head coach Mike Locksley confirming Tuesday that the linebacker has been diagnosed with a torn ACL.  The true sophomore suffered the injury during a scrimmage this past Saturday.

Nchami, who will undergo surgery once the swelling subsides, will be sidelined for the entire 2019 season.

As a true freshman this past season, Nchami played in 10 games and was credited with 15 tackles, 4½ of which were for a loss.  While not expected to start this season even before the injury, Nchami was expected to play an even bigger role in sub packages this year.

“[It’s a] blow to us because of depth, that’s a big concern for us,” Locksley said. “We’ve got a really strong core group of players, but our depth is an issue. So again, we’ve got to continue to find ways to keep our guys healthy and it’s a shame because he was actually playing really well, really taken the next step.”

Nchami is the third Terrapin to suffer a torn ACL this offseason, joining wide receiver Jeshuan Jones (HERE) and Antwaine Richardson (HERE).

Lawsuit filed against Houston claims racial discrimination in process that led up to hiring of Dana Holgorsen

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On Dec. 30 of last year, Houston officially fired Major Applewhite as its head coach even as speculation about his future at the AAC school had flared for days.  Just three days later, Dana Holgorsen left West Virginia to take over for Applewhite in Houston.

And therein lies at least a bit of an issue with which the university now has to deal.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Dr. Kevin Simms, president of the African-American Coaches Association, has filed “[a] lawsuit… against the University of Houston that accuses the school of discrimination and failure to properly post its head football coaching position.” The suit claims that the university violated state law by failing to post the position for a minimum of two weeks, filing complaints with both the Texas Workforce Commission and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Simms is seeking $20 million in compensation in the suit, which also, coincidentally enough, is the total value of the contract signed by Holgorsen.

From the Chronicle‘s report:

The lawsuit seeks damage for “loss (sic) wages, loss (sic) earning capacity, future pecuniary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenient (sic), mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life …” Simms requests a jury trial.

In the lawsuit, Simms claims to have “over 30 years of coaching experience and is clearly more qualified than Dana Holgersen (sic).” A search found no listings of any previous coaching jobs for Simms.

The lawsuit adds, “the University of Houston continues to bypass African-Americans in applying and being considered for the head football coach position as it does not adhere to the job posting and advertising requirements.

(Writer’s note: Yes, Holgorsen’s name was misspelled in the lawsuit.)

The suit further cites an April 30 Sports Illustrated article in which a deal between Holgorsen and UH superbooster Tilman Fertitta was reportedly reached on Dec. 22 for the head coach to replace Applewhite.  The verbal agreement was put together, per the article, shortly before UH was steamrolled by Army 70-14 in the Armed Forces Bowl.

“The University of Houston believes this case is without merit and looks forward to its resolution,” the school said in a statement.

(Tip O’ the Cap: our very own Zach Barnett)

Texas Tech adds sixth graduate transfer this offseason, this one a starting corner from Utah State

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With the start of the 2019 regular season a little over a week away, Texas Tech has bolstered its defensive secondary with an experienced addition to its roster.

Tuesday evening, Tech confirmed that Ja’Marcus Ingram has joined Matt Wells‘ football program and practiced with the team for the first time earlier in the day.  The cornerback began his collegiate career as a walk-on at Utah State before opting to leave the MWC school earlier this offseason.

As Ingram has already graduated from USU, he will be eligible to play immediately for Tech in 2019.  Including this coming season, the defensive back will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Ingram started the 10 games as a redshirt freshman in 2017 and then five of the first six games for the Aggies this past season before going down with what turned out to be a season-ending injury.

As noted by the school in its release, Ingram is far from the first grad transfer added by Tech this offseason.

Ingram becomes the sixth graduate transfer to arrive in Lubbock this summer, joining a group that already includes Zech McPhearson (Penn State), Evan Rambo (Cal), Armand Shyne (Utah), RJ Turner (Louisiana-Monroe) and Jackson Tyner (Rice). Of that group, the trio of McPhearson, Rambo and Ingram will all have two years of eligibility remaining.

Tennessee’s Kurott Garland pulls name out of transfer portal

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It doesn’t happen very often, but it does, every once in a great while, play out this way.

Earlier this offseason, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Kurott Garland signaled his intention to leave Tennessee by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database.  As we often note, players are not bound to transfer by entering the portal and can instead return to the team.

Tuesday, that rare phenomenon played out as Jeremy Pruitt confirmed that Garland has decided to remain with the Volunteers.

“He was thinking about possibly transferring. We supported him all the way through, and in the end, he decided to come back here,” the head coach said by way of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “He’s here. We’re excited that he’s here. I think the guy has lots of ability.”

Garland was a three-star member of the Volunteers’ 2018 recruiting class.  He played in four games as a true freshman, which allowed him to take a redshirt for the past season.

Prior to his decision to enter the portal, Garland had been in line to see increased playing time as part of the Vols’ defensive line rotation. How that plays out moving forward this season remains to be seen.