Art Briles has been making the rounds lately. The former Baylor coach has checked up on former players with the Titans, Bengals, Browns and Rams in the past few days, and on Tuesday visited the Dallas Cowboys' camp in Oxnard, Calif. (Former Bear Terence Williams is a Cowboys wide receiver.)
He has the time, after all. Briles was fired May 26 for failing to stop a sexual assault scandal that surfaced in the Bears' football program and enveloped the entire Baylor ecosystem.
While speaking to reporters Tuesday, Briles predicted a return to coaching in the NFL or college football when the market opens again in November or December.
"I'm dumbfounded, just trying to process everything as it goes. I mean, it is what it is. Reality is reality. What I've got to do is redefine myself and start a new chapter. That's what I'm doing... I know who I am. I know what I've been through (in) 60 years. People may doubt what you say but they'll believe what you do. I've always spent my life in a righteous manner."
There were two great failings in the Baylor rape scandal. The first, obviously, was allowing it to happen. Baylor regents spread the blame around among president Ken Starr, AD Ian McCaw, Briles and a few of staffers who report to Briles. The second was the intentional and ongoing cover up of the cover up commissioned by Baylor's regents.
We still don't know exactly what happened at Baylor. Chances are, we'll never know the full details. All we have to go on is the fact Baylor's regents found the evidence so compelling it felt the need to summarily fire the most successful football coach in its history and its most visible and valuable employee, and Pepper Hamilton's 13-page summary of its findings. And when Briles attempts to return to coaching later this year, this is what he'll have to answer for (emphasis added):
In addition, some football coaches and staff took improper steps in response to disclosures of sexual assault or dating violence that precluded the University from fulfilling its legal obligations. Football staff conducted their own untrained internal inquiries, outside of policy, which improperly discredited complainants and denied them the right to a fair, impartial and informed investigation, interim measures or processes promised under University policy. In some cases, internal steps gave the illusion of responsiveness to complainants but failed to provide a meaningful institutional response under Title IX. Further, because reports were not shared outside of athletics, the University missed critical opportunities to impose appropriate disciplinary action that would have removed offenders from campus and possibly precluded future acts of sexual violence against Baylor students. In some instances, the football program dismissed players for unspecified team violations and assisted them in transferring to other schools. As a result, some football coaches and staff abdicated responsibilities under Title IX and Clery; to student welfare; to the health and safety of complainants; and to Baylor’s institutional values.
In addition to the failures related to sexual assault and dating violence, individuals within the football program actively sought to maintain internal control over discipline for other forms of misconduct. Athletics personnel failed to recognize the conflict of interest in roles and risk to campus safety by insulating athletes from student conduct processes.Football coaches and staff took affirmative steps to maintain internal control over discipline of players and to actively divert cases from the student conduct or criminal processes. In some cases, football coaches and staff had inappropriate involvement in disciplinary and criminal matters or engaged in improper conduct that reinforced an overall perception that football was above the rules, and that there was no culture of accountability for misconduct.
Briles does have at least one person with hiring power in his corner: his host on Tuesday.
"I will vouch for him as a person," Jerry Jones told the Dallas Morning News Tuesday. "He's top quality as a person. I'd want my grandson, if he had the chance, to play for him."