Former Baylor head coach Phil Bennett says an interview he did for a law firm reviewing Baylor’s response to sexual assault scandal was a fraud because he was unable to go through the interview without an attorney by his side. In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Bennett took issue with the review conducted by the Pepper Hamilton law firm.
“It was somewhere in January or February after our bowl game,” Bennett said of the interview he had with representatives from the law firm. “I told (staffers) it was a fraud set up from the get-go. I wanted to bring a lawyer in and to record it. I wanted protection. They would not talk to us if we did. They didn’t have a recording of it, either. That’s what bothered me. I was in there for 4 1/2 hours. They wrote notes. I wrote notes. They looked at mine. I looked at theirs. (The two investigators) were so out of touch with the structure of college football, it was comical.”
Bennett went on to explain when he realized there was no progress he was going to make in the interview.
“I said, ‘We are bringing these kids in and we take great pride in keeping them within the lines of university procedures. That’s our jobs. We are not getting the normal student.’ I wanted to be as real as I could with them. We are trying to teach these kids how to be in college and how to react in situations. She says, ‘Judicial Affairs should have known.’ As soon as she said that, I knew this was over.”
Despite the scale of the scandal at Baylor and the fallout that ensued, Bennett remains confident Baylor was really no different from any other college football program in the country.
“We had the same issues that everybody had,” Bennett claimed at one point in the video interview. “We tried to stay on top of things. Now, were we just a hammer? Probably not.”
Previous reports have detailed how members of the Baylor coaching staff worked around the typical Title IX procedures, which is what really brought the entire situation at Baylor to a boil.
Bennett also came to the defense of former Baylor head coach Art Briles, suggesting Briles was targetted because Baylor could not successfully fire Ken Starr as university president.
“Yes. I remember when this all started, my wife told me, ‘This is the sort of thing that gets you fired.’ I don’t know if this was true, but I was told by a member of the board that Art was never the objective. They were looking to fire Ken Starr. But Starr lawyered up. And the next on the pole was Briles.”
During the course of the interview, Bennett suggested Baylor was no different from other college football programs around the country
“Every night I say a prayer for him, that he will [coach again],” Bennett said of Briles. “I think without question he deserves to.”
Briles, of course, has struggled to land a coaching job since being fired by Baylor. A job in the CFL never took off after public outcry about his hiring, and he remains a bit of a pariah around college football as the dust still settles from the impact of the scandal in Waco.