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Baylor football: Art Briles breaks silence, says could have done 'certain things differently'

By
The Sports Xchange
Baylor Bears head football coach Art Briles yells to his team as they face the Michaigan State Spartans in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic in AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas on January 1, 2015. Ian Halperin/UPI
Baylor Bears head football coach Art Briles yells to his team as they face the Michaigan State Spartans in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic in AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas on January 1, 2015. Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

Suspended Baylor football coach Art Briles issued a statement Thursday criticizing the university board of regents and admitting he could have done "certain things differently."

Baylor placed Briles on suspended leave with the intent to terminate his contract after an independent investigation into multiple sexual assault and violence claims against the football program concluded. The report by the law firm Pepper Hamilton found that Baylor staff met with victims of abuse and did not relay their allegations to authorities.

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Briles broke his silence on the matter Thursday.

"My heart goes out to the victims for the pain that they have endured. Sexual assault has no place on our campus or in our society," the statement began. "As a father of two daughters, a grandfather and a husband, my prayers are with the victims of this type of abuse, wherever they are. After 38 years of coaching, I have certainly made mistakes and, in hindsight, I would have done certain things differently. I always strive to be a better coach, a better father and husband, and a better person.

"Keep in mind, the complete scope of what happened here has not been disclosed and unfortunately at this time I am contractually obligated to remain silent on the matter. The report prepared by Pepper Hamilton, the law firm hired and paid for by Baylor's Board of Regents, has not been shared with me directly, despite my full cooperation with the investigation. I can only assume that the report, which is not independent, supports the conclusions that the Board has already drawn. I hope to share with you what I was aware of as soon as I can so Baylor Nation can begin the healing process."

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The school officially labeled Briles' status as "suspended indefinitely with intent to terminate according to contractual procedures."

Briles, 60, was 65-37 in eight seasons while taking the program to unprecedented heights. The Bears have won 10 or more games in four of the past five seasons.

The Pepper Hamilton report unveiled the following issues regarding the football program:

"Baylor failed to take appropriate action to respond to reports of sexual assault and dating violence reportedly committed by football players. The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the University.

"In certain instances, including reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, athletics and football personnel affirmatively chose not to report sexual violence and dating violence to an appropriate administrator outside of athletics. In those instances, football coaches or staff met directly with a complainant and/or a parent of a complainant and did not report the misconduct.

"As a result, no action was taken to support complainants, fairly and impartially evaluate the conduct under Title IX, address identified cultural concerns within the football program, or protect campus safety once aware of a potential pattern of sexual violence by multiple football players."

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Hamilton found that the university's student conduct processes "were wholly inadequate to consistently provide a prompt and equitable response under Title IX," and failed to eliminate a "potential hostile environment."

In Thursday's statement, Briles said he was grateful to have the opportunity to be part of Baylor

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