While a small minority of Baylor donors have been pushing behind the scenes to bring back Art Briles as football coach in 2017 — effectively giving him a one-year suspension — it is unlikely to result in any action, USA TODAY Sports has learned.
A person with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the discussions, said there is indeed a faction of voices within the school's Board of Regents still supporting Briles and urging the school to bring him back. But those voices, the person said, were few in number at this point and considered to be on the margins.
WFAA TV in Dallas cited an unnamed large Baylor donor as saying that boosters are not calling for Briles to be reinstated, but for him to have the chance to offer a defense to the Board of Regents. The notion that donors would cease contributions to the university, the donor told the TV station, is "a load of crap."
Briles was suspended "with intent to terminate" on May 26 for his role in the sexual assault scandal that also cost school president Ken Starr and athletics director Ian McCaw their jobs. Two others who work in football operations were also let go.
In a statement released the following week, Briles said he had not been made aware of the contents in the report compiled by the Pepper Hamilton law firm, which assessed how Baylor handled sexual assault complaints. Though Baylor has not made the findings public, a 13-page summary was harshly critical of the culture around the football program.
Baylor hired former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe as its interim coach for 2016.
The mere notion of bringing back Briles, whose coaching skills took Baylor from the bottom of the Big 12 to perennial national title contender, will undoubtedly be met with significant pushback. Even more victims have come forward publicly since his firing claiming they were assaulted by Baylor football players and that their complaints were not acted upon by the administration or the football program.
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