More than 24 hours ago, word leaked out of Waco to Horns Digest that certain Baylor regents were considering slapping head coach Art Briles with a one-year suspension and then reinstating him as the Bears’ head coach in time for the 2017 season. More outlets — USA Today, Bleacher Report, KCEN-TV in Waco — followed. Former BU Board of Regents chair Gale Galloway and Texas Rangers co-owner Bob Simpson attached their names to the group that would like to see Briles reinstated.
Meanwhile, the story stayed out there.
And stayed out there.
And stayed out there.
Finally, 10 hours later — an eternity in this business – Baylor interim president David Garland spoke to WFAA-TV in Dallas, saying: “I was really caught off guard by all this… A lot of fans love what the coach did on the football field, and you can understand that. But other factors have to be taken into consideration.”
As the story unspooled yesterday, a source tied into the Baylor athletics department told me the rumors were “ludicrous” and the possibility of Briles returning to Waco was “never going to happen.” The source said a few Regents and boosters were indeed nudging for a return but “there are enough smart people in the room to realize the travesty in that.”
Allowing the rumor to get out and then metastasize could have been a ploy by the cooler heads in green and gold to show those pining for a return just how poorly a Briles reinstatement would play nationally. And, boy, were they ever right.
But then there is this: on Tuesday KWXT-TV in Waco reported Baylor regents discussed the Briles situation and that “a preliminary vote on the matter was very close.”
The longer the possibility of Briles’ return sits and sits and sits in public discourse, the greater the possibility that it actually happens.
Bringing Briles back would be a no-going-back decision not just for Baylor football, but for Baylor University. It would be a stain that could not be washed out. That’s something the 34 BU Regents must decide is worth their school wearing — forever — in return for one successful football coach.
PM Update: ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reported Tuesday afternoon there was no vote on whether or not to reinstate Briles.
Baylor confirmed to the Austin American-Statesman no vote was taken at Monday night’s meeting:
“As has been reported, the Baylor Board of Regents did meet last night to discuss a variety of matters. We can confirm, there was no vote regarding the employment status of Art Briles.”