Former Baylor head coach Art Briles has been removed from a federal lawsuit filed against the university, just as his lawyers requested back in July. That doesn’t mean he is out in the clear just yet, however.
Briles and former Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw were named as defendants in a federal lawsuit filed against Baylor University by a woman claiming the school ignored her claims of being sexually abused by a former Baylor football player (Tevin Elliott). Attorneys representing Briles and McCaw requested each be removed from the lawsuit as a defendant by claiming the allegations against them were based on hearsay and federal and state laws prohibit them from being sued as individuals in the case against the university. An attorney representing the plaintiff agreed to drop Briles and McCaw from this federal lawsuit but made it clear new lawsuits would be filed later specifically against Briles and McCaw.
”Coach Art Briles is very happy he has been dismissed as a defendant in this case. Plaintiffs may very well allege future claims against him and we will take those on if and when they are filed,” Briles’ attorney, Kenneth Tekell, said.
The lawsuit was filed in March, claiming Baylor was aware of other transgressions associated with Elliott. Because of this, the woman claims Baylor failed to protect her safety from a sexual predator. Elliott was convicted of raping the woman and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Briles has been busy in recent weeks attempting to reform his shattered image, admitting to making mistakes (after previously admitting to nothing) and outlining how he will handle things differently should he be fortunate to coach again in the future. He was most recently seen attending a Baylor football game this past weekend at Rice, where former Baylor football player Shawn Oakman inexplicably visited the team inside the locker room (to which current head coach Jim Grobe admitting to having no idea who Oakman was).
The fallout from the bombshell at Baylor continues to leave a deep impact a week later. According to Joe Schad of ESPN, former president Ken Starr says he will resign from his role as chancellor. Meanwhile, Dan Wolken of USA Today reported last night two more staffers from Baylor’s football program have been let go.
Starr was demoted from his role as university president last week by the board of regents following the release of an investigative report on Baylor’s Title IX violations within the football and program and athletics department. Starr was given a chancellor’s role with the intent of being a voice in front of donors. That will no longer be the case, per Schad’s report. Starr will remain a law professor at the university, however, which sounds just as confusing as anything you may read or hear today.
The two football staffers let go by the university are reportedly Colin Shillinglaw and Tom Hill. Shillinglaw was the athletics director for football operations. Hill was a longtime staffer that was apparently there to fill any need necessary. Shillinglaw reportedly worked closely to former head coach Art Briles. Briles was put on an indefinite suspension with the intent to have his contract terminated by the university.
Earlier this week Baylor announced the hiring of Jim Grobe as active head coach. The news of the former Wake Forest head coach joining the Bears during this troubling time preceded the announcement that athletics director Ian McCaw was going to resign.
On the same day Baylor made the coaching hire of Jim Grobe official, athletics director Ian McCaw has announced his resignation.
“After much reflection and prayer, I have decided that a change in athletics department leadership is in Baylor University’s best interest in order to promote the unity, healing and restoration that must occur in order to move forward,” McCaw said in a released statement Monday evening.
The resignation of McCaw is not to be unexpected given the serious nature of the revelations surrounding the Baylor program in the last week. Art Briles already lost his job and president Ken Starr was reappointed to a different position within the university as it looks to regroup from some egregious violations of Title IX and a complete system meltdown in responding to sexual violence involving Baylor student-athletes. That he lasted this long is puzzling to some, and his resignation is very likely a forced one. McCaw was placed on probation by the university last week.
“We understand and accept this difficult decision by Ian McCaw to resign as Athletic Director and we are grateful for his service to Baylor University,” a statement from Baylor’s Board of Regents read. “We also appreciate Ian’s commitment and involvement in bringing a person of integrity such as Jim Grobe to the University before making this decision.”
It should be expected McCaw let Grobe know of the situation when making the quick coaching hire, although Grobe likely knows this is a short-term deal anyway.
McCaw joined the Baylor program in 2003.
Baylor has scheduled a game against University of Incarnate Word for the 2019 season. At a time when college football is moving toward a stronger emphasis on strength of schedule, Baylor’s latest scheduling announcement seems to go against the grain for those in favor of stronger non-conference match-ups. Baylor Athletics Director Ian McCaw took to the radio to defend the decision to add UIW, a FCS program coming off its first year after moving up from the Division 2 ranks, to the future schedule.
During an interview on ESPN Radio Central Texas McCaw said Baylor has often scheduled one game against a program from the FCS within the region. With UIW moving up to the FCS and joining the Southland Conference, they fall within those parameters. McCaw defended that decision by referencing SEC schedules against FCS opponents and said there is no plan to change that scheduling structure in the future at Baylor. Baylor has scheduled an FCS team every season dating back to 2001. The defending Big 12 champions are scheduled to host Northwestern State in 2014, Lamar in 2015 and Northwestern State again in 2016. As noted by FBSchedules.com, a future game against Liberty is also on the agenda but does not have a specific date or year in place just yet.
The self-proclaimed thick-skinned AD noted fans have voiced opinions and demand for more interesting, or perhaps challenging games, but games against the likes of Alabama or Ohio State are probably going to be pipe dreams according to McCaw. McCaw did say Baylor has been in discussions with UTEP about potential games in the future, but nothing has been put together just yet. A former Baylor rival from the old Southwest Conference, Houston, is not expected to show up on the future schedule any time soon.
Baylor will rack up the points on a weak opponent, but they will not b the only ones to do so in the coming years. As long as a win against a FCS school counts the same in the win column as one against a conference opponent, this scheduling trend is not going anywhere. The hope for the good of the sport is that more schools will move away from this scheduling philosophy as strength of schedule is given more emphasis in the College Football Playoff, but until a team is punished for playing inferior opponents solely to pad the stats and grab an automatic win, Baylor is far from the only team to take advantage of schools like UIW.
You can listen to the radio interview here.