Grambling State hires offensive coordinator fired from Baylor after sexual assault investigation

Art Briles was fired by Baylor University in 2016

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Grambling’s new head coach, Hue Jackson, has tapped Art Briles as offensive coordinator, and the move is receiving the side-eye from the world of college sports. 

As reported by The Advocate, the gig is Briles’ first college coaching job since he was fired by Baylor University in 2016 for mishandling sexual assault allegations against Baylor players.

TheGrio reported in 2017 on a lawsuit filed by a former student who claimed she was gang-raped by two men who were Baylor football players at the time of the incident. In her complaint, she also claimed that 31 of the school’s football players committed 52 rapes between 2011 and 2014.

Art Briles
Head coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears celebrates after the Baylor Bears beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys 45-35 at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 21, 2015, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Briles was accused of ignoring the sexual assault scandals while serving as head coach at Baylor University. He was ultimately fired after an internal investigation into the university’s response to extensive sexual assault accusations against players on the football team. 

“The head coach failed to meet even the most basic expectations of how a person should react to the kind of conduct at issue in this case,” the panel said in the report. “Furthermore, as a campus leader, the head coach is held to an even higher standard. He completely failed to meet this standard.”

In August 2021, an NCAA investigation cleared Briles of any NCAA violations but condemned his actions as related to the controversies with the football team at Baylor. According to the report, the NCAA panel accused Briles of having an “incurious attitude toward potential criminal conduct by his student-athletes.”

However Grambling athletic director Trayvean Scott told ESPN Thursday that Briles is “sympathetic and empathetic about what went on” at Baylor, Yahoo reports. 

“I think the guy just wants to coach and lead men,” said Scott, who noted that he fully supports Briles’ hire. “We’re not talking about a perfect situation or devaluing things done in the past and how it has affected people. He’s sympathetic and empathetic about what went on.”

Meanwhile, David Ridpath, a sports management professor at Ohio University, wants to know “what has Briles done to rehab himself and atone for what happened at Baylor to warrant another chance,” he questioned.

“Briles made career decisions — bad ones — by placing football success and protection of his own players over the safety of student-athletes,” said Ridpath reported by The Advocate

“He was in charge. I think it’s a bad move by Grambling,” he added. 

Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams, a former star quarterback at Grambling, says he can’t support his alma mater’s hiring of Briles.  

“I don’t know Art Briles; I’ve never met him in my life,” Williams said per NBC Sports. “But the situation, nobody else would hire him for whatever reason. I don’t know why Grambling State had to go be the one to hire him, so I’m not a fan at all.”

Scott told ESPN that Briles deserves “a chance to really redeem himself after understanding where the facts lie.”

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