If it were one sexual-assault allegation, maybe it would be different. Then you could attribute it to one bad apple and remove him from the program. But when it’s a litany of allegations spanning several years, Baylor’s football program – and the university as a whole – needs to look itself in the mirror and decide what it stands for.
Does it stand for football, or does it stand for abusing young women? Unfortunately, Baylor seems to stand for both – just as long as the latter doesn’t impact the former.
Which is why Art Briles needs to be fired but probably won’t be.
“It’s insane that he’s been able to get away with it,” Dallas sports radio host Corby Davidson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “It is absolutely insane. It just seems like if he was at any other school that maybe had a little more storied history, his head would be lopped off immediately. But I’m telling you: It’s all based on the fact that this was crap for years and years and years and they don’t want to go back to crap – and they don’t know how to handle it. They don’t. They don’t know what to do down there. They’re so dug in. There are people down here that – I swear to God, Scotty – they think this is some sort of conspiracy by ESPN. People are saying that because ESPN is involved and that ESPN has a relationship with the Longhorn Network that it behooves ESPN to squash Baylor to have Texas rise back up to make the Longhorn Network more of a viable financial option for ESPN. People say that here.”
Back in reality, meanwhile, Baylor president Ken Starr will reportedly be fired at some point in the near future.
“I think he’s gone,” Davidson said. “Somebody’s gone and they’re not going to fire Art Briles. I would be shocked. Unless they have to because they turn over some more evidence and it comes out that they have concrete proof that he was burying things and that he had a relationship with the Waco cops and he was telling them to bury things – unless something like that come out in the next few weeks – Ken Starr will be fired and he will be the scapegoat. They’ll say, ‘Look, we got rid of the president of the university. We got rid of the guy who’s in charge of everything, so we’re doing our due diligence by cutting the head off at the very top.’ But Briles is going to stay.”
Baylor is 32-7 over the last three seasons. Most college programs would love to say that, especially if that program finished with a losing record in 14 straight years from 1996 to 2009. In fact, Baylor won three games or fewer in eight straight seasons from 1997 to 2004.
“Look at it this way: They were the worst team in Division I football for about a decade straight,” Davidson said. “The worst. And suddenly they dig this guy up, Art Briles, this Texas high school coaching legend, and within three or four years, they turned it around and they’re a top-10 team. Do you think that the alumni – they were made fun of (for years) for wearing their shirts in the state of Texas. Do you think those people, who finally have pride in their school and pride in their football team, want to go back to the dark days? That’s what they’re looking at if they get rid of Briles.”