Tag Archives: Art Briles

Texas, Baptists and Football

Not all Texans love their football, but a sizable majority do.  And although the state has produced exactly zero championships on any level above high school in more than a decade now, there remains the perception that Texas football is somehow superior and more manly than the rest.  The quest to achieve football prominence (or prominence in any sport) can overwhelm more pedestrian desires such as education, quality of life and safety.  What has happened at Baylor and in Waco is a prime example of misplaced priorities and an institution run amok in its goal of building a nationally recognized college football program.  Baylor had had brief moments of football success winning the Southwest Conference several times in the early days of the SWC and twice (1974 and 1980) under Grant Teaff in a more competitive era.  But until winning the Big 12 in 2013, it had been over 30 years without a trophy on the shelf.  Then sharing a Big 12 title in 2014 opened the possibility that the Bears might actually be on the road to long term success and regular national recognition.

But a what price?  Red does not know and probably does not care to know all the details of the investigation that has resulted in the firing of Head Coach Art Briles, the demotion of Ken Starr and the quick exit of the Baylor Athletic Director (whose name only the faithful knew before this week and even they will want to forget it).  Suffice it to say, that to fire a highly successful coach that had brought Baylor to national prominence, the facts are probably worse than we will ever know or want to know.  The athletic program, the administration and the Waco police and district attorney are all complicit in a horrendous cover up of gross criminality.  Anyone who has spent hard-earned money to send their child to what has been revealed to be a corrupt institution cloaking itself in Christian teaching can only be truly shocked and disappointed at how low this place has fallen.

Everyone Red knows that went to Baylor really loves the place.  It has a great reputation for being a place where students feel at home and build a sense of community and friendship.  Will that still be the case?

Red gives no credit to Baylor whatsoever for firing Briles and demoting Starr.  It is incredible that all of this occurred under the noses of the Board of Regents and they too must be considered complicit in the lack of oversight of a program that completely lost any ethical or moral mooring.

So when you are watching college football next fall, think about the consequences of the bloated importance placed on these games, these coaches and these players.  Something is seriously out of order when what happened at Baylor can go on for years without some consequences.

Open Letter to Kenneth Starr

Chip Brown of Scout posts a powerful open letter to Baylor University Chancellor and President Kenneth Starr.  In the aftermath of Sam Ukwuachu’s rape conviction, the pathetically incompetent BU investigation into the allegations and apparent lies of Head Coach Art Briles about what he knew about Ukwuachu’s past, someone’s head needs to roll.  Whose will it be?  Brown calls out Starr for the failed investigation especially given Starr’s stellar legal stature.  Brown clearly questions whether any university athletic program will go after its rainmaker – the men’s football program – and why Starr did not do more to insure that Baylor students were safe.

That probably puts the onus on yourself, a top legal expert once considered for a U.S. Supreme Court appointment (by George H.W. Bush), to make sure everything about the rape allegations were properly vetted, right?

To make sure your campus was safe from a potential predator – especially in the wake of defensive end Tevin Elliott’s conviction in 2012 after he was accused in court of being a serial rapist?

You have legally defended someone accused of sexually preying on young girls. In 2007, you joined the defense team of Palm Beach, Fla., millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexually molesting several underaged high school girls before paying them off. (Epstein later pled guilty to soliciting prostitutes and spent 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach Jail).

And you also investigated the sexual dalliances of then-president Bill Clinton in a $70 million probe laid out in graphic detail in a 445-page report that led to impeachment proceedings. If anyone was qualified to try to separate fact from fiction in the case of Ukwuachu and a female Baylor soccer player, wouldn’t it be you? With the university’s reputation potentially on the line because of the Elliott conviction in 2012 and the U.S. Dept. of Education Title IX probe?

As the head of the university, and with what was already on the line, was it your responsibility to talk to Art Briles about if Ukwuachu needed to remain at Baylor?

It’s been my experience covering college athletics the most powerful person on a university campus is a conference-championship football coach making it rain with donor millions with a chance to win a national title.

Few, if any on campus, maybe outside of the school president and chancellor, are willing to be the voice of reason when it comes to having a hard conversation with a football coach in hot pursuit of being No. 1.

Was there a hard conversation about how, after Ukwuachu’s indictment in June 2014 for raping a Baylor women’s student-athlete, it might be time for Briles to recruit another pass-rusher? Briles has a daughter, and he undoubtedly respects you.

At that point, would it not have been fair to conclude Ukwuachu had violated the BU Student Conduct Code and needed to be expelled as a threat to the rest of the campus (especially after previous issues involving a rocky relationship at Boise State helped lead to his transfer to BU in the first place)?

In this case, it appears a female Baylor soccer player was left to fend for herself in more ways than one, including – according to Texas Monthly – having her scholarship cut after accusing Ukwuachu of rape and then not being found credible by anyone in a position of authority on campus. Is that accurate?

In my experience, this is a situation where the leadership at the top of the university needs to stand up and be accountable for whatever it did or did not do on behalf of a once-proud Baylor women’s soccer player who came to Waco to enjoy the best years of her life and transferred out shattered, humiliated and ignored.

Is Art Briles a Liar?

USA Today remains on the case of soon to be embattled Baylor Head Football Coach Art Briles.  In a press conference, Briles denied any knowledge of the trouble and violent past of Sam Ukwuachu who was dismissed from the Boise State program after attacking his girlfriend.  Washington Coach Chris Petersen calls Briles out on that one.  According to Petersen, he personally called Briles to inform him about the potential danger with Ukwuachu.

Washington head coach Chris Petersen issued a statement Friday saying that he informed Baylor’s Art Briles about why defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was dismissed at Boise State.

“After Sam Ukwuachu was dismissed from the Boise State football program and expressed an interest in transferring to Baylor, I initiated a call with coach Art Briles. In that conversation, I thoroughly apprised Coach Briles of the circumstances surrounding Sam’s disciplinary record and dismissal,” said Petersen, who was Boise State’s coach at the time.

Briles said in a news conference Friday morning that he had no knowledge of Ukwuachu’s violent past at Boise State.

Fire Art Briles Now!

USA Today excoriates Baylor Head Football Coach Art Briles for taking in Sam Ukwuachu when there was strong evidence that he was a danger to the young women on campus.  Ukwuachu was dismissed from Boise State after viciously attacking his girlfriend.  The sad tale came to an end when Ukwuachu was convicted after raping a Baylor student.  If Briles knew all this and let young women at Baylor be exposed to Ukwuachu then he is indeed a scumbag who should be fired immediately.

When Art Briles recruited Sam Ukwuachu to Baylor University, he turned every female on campus into a potential victim. When Briles’ superiors signed off on bringing the talented defensive end to Waco, they tacitly approved of putting students in harm’s way.

It was all right there in the most basic of investigations into Ukwuachu’s exit from Boise State, when he was dismissed from the program in May 2013 because he attacked his girlfriend. Despite the clear warning signs of violent behavior, Baylor had brought Ukwuachu into their community because, by golly, he sure could help the pass rush. Five months later, all that had really changed about Ukwuachu’s tendencies was the venue.

On Thursday, in a district court in Waco, Ukwuachu was found guilty of sexually assaulting a former Baylor women’s soccer player, who was 18 and in her first semester of college in October 2013 when the big-shot football transfer twice her size attacked her.

Maybe if she had been warned that the Baylor football player in her tutoring sessions once became so crazed during a domestic dispute at Boise that he broke a window, she wouldn’t have even been in position to be in his apartment that night. Maybe if Briles, athletics director Ian McCaw and school president Ken Starr had looked at his background and realized Ukwuachu didn’t belong at Baylor, she wouldn’t have had to go get a rape kit the next morning.

Just How Worthless is Your College’s Football Coach?

In most cases, pretty darn worthless it turns out.  The Count of Wall Street Journal fame has run the numbers of the coaches at the major football schools.  Rather than looking at won-loss records or conference championships, the Count analyzes exactly how well each coach did against opposing teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at game time.  This eliminates stacking of the records against lower division opponents, perennial doormats and the intra-conference weak sisters.

Who is the best college football coach?  Not surprisingly, it is the coach of defending National Champions Ohio State – Urban Meyer with a .707 mark.  The highly regarded Nick Saban is a piker by comparison with a .597 career average against quality competition.  So who is number two?  Jimbo Fisher at Florida State has racked up a .666 winning percentage in his 18 games against ranked competition.  But really, the oft-maligned Bob Stoops is likely the better coach – coming in batting .649 when going against the big boys in 77 games.

In Texas Gary Patterson at TCU is at the top of the heap with .559 winning percentage in 34 such contests.  A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is a respectable second with a .500 mark in his 20 top tier tests.  UT’s Charlie Strong (3-6) and Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury (2-7) don’t have enough games (at least 15) to make Red’s list – but neither is trending in the right direction.  And you have to wonder at UT’s hiring of Strong when he had an all-time 2-1 record in games against real teams before joining the Longhorns.

Who looks really bad?  Wunderkind Mike Leach is a pathetic .236 in 55 games against ranked competition and is fading fast having gone 1-11 at Washington State.  Kansas State’s legendary Bill Snyder is more legend than reality with a .278 record in 79 games.  Flavor of the Month Art Briles is on similar ground at .286 with all 10 of his wins over Top 25 opponents coming at Baylor.  And at the bottom of the heap is Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre who has yet to get on base (.000 in 15 games).

Who is coming on strong?  Mark Richt at Georgia racks up considerable numbers by virtue of playing in the SEC and is looking respectable at .535 in 71 games against the Beasts of the Southeast and others.  David Shaw sports an impressive .625 mark in his 24 games – all at Stanford. The only other coaches above the .500 mark are Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Les Miles (LSU), Brian Kelly (Notre Mama). Jim Mora (UCLA)  and Steve Spurrier (S. Carolina).