Art Briles responds to the latest report of sexual abuse at Baylor
Last Sunday, ESPN’s "Outside the Lines" report told the story of a former Baylor freshman female student who was one of five women who reported to police that they were either raped or assaulted — in incidents from October 2009 to April 2012 — by then-Baylor defensive lineman Tevin Elliott, who was convicted on two counts of sexual assault in January 2014.
Baylor — even though it is a private institution — is required by federal law (Title IX) to thoroughly investigate allegations of sexual violence and provide security, counseling services and academic help to those who report assaults. However, the OTL report found "several examples in the woman’s case, and others at Baylor, in which school officials either failed to investigate, or adequately investigate, allegations of sexual violence. In many cases, officials did not provide support to those who reported assaults. Moreover, it took Baylor more than three years to comply with a federal directive: In April 2011, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to all colleges and universities outlining their responsibilities under Title IX, including the need for each school to have a Title IX coordinator. Baylor didn’t hire a full-time coordinator until fall 2014."
According to OTL, Baylor declined to make requested coaches or administrators available to comment.
Last Wednesday, Bears head coach Art Briles appeared on The Audible as part of our Signing Day coverage. In addition to discussing the Bears’ recruiting class, we also asked Briles for his reaction to the OTL report.
"I actually didn’t watch it, but my reaction is sadness and sorrow because it’s something you never want to be associated with," Briles told FOX Sports. "You’d like to think you’re immune to it, but I’m not sure anybody is.
"As those things come up, you deal with them to the best that you’re capable of doing. Then, you try to educate and make awareness to it and hopefully, it never happens again."
The case of another Baylor football player — defensive end Sam Ukwuachu, who was accused of raping a Baylor soccer player in October 2013 — also was examined in the OTL piece. The Ukwuachu story eventually became a high-profile story last fall. (Ukwuachu was found guilty of sexual assault last August.)
When asked what he tells recruits or their families when the subject comes up, Briles said on The Audible: "It really never came up, and I think that speaks well probably for the substance and consistency that we’ve had as a program and as a staff here and hopefully the reputation and integrity that people know that we operate under on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it’s a societal problem, and hopefully, we can get it taken care of through awareness and education."