Hog fans are engrossed with new football coach Sam Pittman’s search for assistants and one name that’s popped up has stirred comment pro and con.
That would be Kendal Briles, who’s being replaced as offensive coordinator at Florida State by a new head coach. He’s emerged as a “fan favorite” for a similar job at Arkansas, according to a Democrat-Gazette article today. Not all fans. Social media also has carried critical comments about Briles because of his past as an assistant at Baylor under his father Art Briles.
Art Briles was fired and Baylor also ousted college president Kenneth Starr (yes, that Starr) for a sex scandal, including coverup, that saw multiple football players accused of rape. Kendal Briles wasn’t directly implicated and kept his job for a time. Baylor, however, has never fully disclosed all it found in an internal review. That review acknowledged some unnamed coaches took “improper steps” when told of player assaults. Schools that hired Kendal Briles subsequently said they’d vetted him thoroughly with Baylor officials.
Houston Chronicle columnist Jennifer Creech objected in 2018 when Houston hired Briles for an assistant’s job. She wrote:
“This isn’t about his bloodline. It’s about a coach who is named in a pending lawsuit, has broken NCAA recruiting rules and has been questionable through his actions and social media practices in the past…It sends out a message that winning is more important than morals when football is involved…
Others have criticized the Baylor staff for exhibiting little contrition about the events since. Creech wrote:
When Art was fired – rightfully so – from his head coaching duties, Kendal took to social media to defend him, victim shame the women who came forward and deny any wrongdoing.
It’s understandable for a son to want to defend his father, but in doing so, he aligned himself with someone who knowingly broke federal Title IX regulations.
He has never publicly acknowledged that there was any wrongdoing at Baylor – nor has anyone from the staff.
When Kendal Briles was hired at Houston amid controversy, he avoided a direct comment about the Baylor scandal:
“Judge me for me,” he said, leaving his father’s name unspoken. “I lived my whole life pretty pure, and you can judge me for what I do.”
When hired for an assistant’s job at Florida Atlantic, he wouldn’t comment when asked about Baylor. Should he be hired at UA, currently embroiled in legal issues over handling of campus sexual assault complaints and also home to the long-ago infamous basketball “dorm incident”, it might be worth asking him again about the Baylor rapes; the allegation regarding use of sex as a recruiting tool; whether, even if not involved, he believed the Baylor staff responded appropriately at the time, and whether he believes the women who came forward were truthful.
The lawsuit alleged 52 rapes, including five gang rapes, by 31 players between 2011 and 2014. Kendal Briles coached at Baylor from 2008 to 2016.
Here’s an excerpt from the “Elizabeth Doe” lawsuit that Baylor settled:
THE CULTURE OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE AT BAYLOR: RECRUITING
At the heart of BAYLOR’s renewed success on the football field were the recruiting efforts of [Art] Briles and his staff. In order to ensure that a last place team could recruit the players needed to win football games, recruiting efforts used sex to sell the program.
Central to their recruiting efforts, BAYLOR football coaching staff implemented a “Show em a good time”” policy which permitted members of the BAYLOR football team to engage in unrestricted behavior with no consequences including but not limited to:
- Players arranging for women, alcohol and illegal drugs for parties when recruits were in town;
- Paying for and escorting underage recruits to bars and strip clubs; and
- Paying for off-campus football parties (which repeatedly resulted in gang rape of women by the athletes).
Not only were BAYLOR’s football coaching staff instrumental in actively implementing these recruiting policies and practices, they also encouraged them. Assistant Coach Kendall Briles, while recruiting one Dallas area high school athlete stated, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at BAYLOR and they LOVE football players.”
BAYLOR football coaching staff also arranged for women to have sex with recruits on their official campus visits. On one such occasion, a BAYLOR football player stated that BAYLOR coaches sent two women from the BAYLOR Bruins program to his hotel room and the room of another recruit to engage in sex with the two men.
“Show em a good time” are the words used by one BAYLOR football player referencing what his coaches had told them to do with the recruits.