When a sexual assault scandal engulfed Baylor University, encompassing lawsuits by at least 15 victims, 52 alleged incidents and 31 football players, the school’s Board of Regents fired head football coach Art Briles.
An independent report by Pepper Hamilton found “specific failings within both the football program and Athletics department leadership,” including Briles.
Firing Briles was the right move for Baylor as they dug out from under a deluge of Title IX infractions and began implementing much needed and overdue reforms.
It hasn’t been a smooth road, but Baylor appears to be making policy changes that will improve the university culture and help ensure nothing like this happens again.
And then in May, Baylor issued what amounts to a recommendation letter for Briles, per the Star-Telegram’s Mac Engel. The letter was first reported earlier this month. Briles has used it in an effort to gain employment.
The school’s general counsel wrote in the letter that there wasn’t knowledge of Briles’ direct involvement in the scandal. Which is in conflict with previous comments from the school.
While the letter has little impact on the safety of students on campus, it is troubling that the university would say the firing was not related. It makes us, yet again, question the Board’s transparency.
The school’s leaders seem to be trying to have it both ways.
It will take time for Baylor to rebuild trust that it has recently lost. To do so it must be transparent and consistent with respect to its communication, both public and private.