Baylor coach Art Briles is accusing Baylor of wrongful termination and indicating he has no interest in settling a federal lawsuit filed against him and the university by a woman who was raped by a football player, according to a motion filed Thursday, June 16, 2016, as part of the lawsuit.(AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
The divorce between Baylor and Art Briles just took a nasty turn - and it's only starting.
A court filing Thursday by Briles in relation to a lawsuit filed against him and the school by a sexual assault victim was anything but routine. Briles and his attorneys began laying the groundwork for what could later turn into a wrongful termination lawsuit, or at least tough negotiating.
Fired coach Art Briles accusing Baylor of wrongful termination
A filing by Briles' personal attorney, Ernest Cannon, suggests that Baylor and its regents used the former football coach and the athletic department "as a camouflage to disguise and distract from its own institutional failure to comply with Title IX and other federal civil rights laws."
Because Briles is a co-defendant with Baylor, he's requesting all the documents the school gave the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton as part of the internal investigation into Baylor's handling of sexual assault cases, including several involving football players.
Briles as a scapegoat, the fall guy for what happened at Baylor may be a hard sell to the public - outside of donors and fans who really, really wanted to see Briles get a one-year suspension and return in 2017.
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In court, who knows? If nothing else, Briles gains some legal leverage in mediation with Baylor over the slightly less than $40 million remaining on his contract that runs through 2023. His attorney is a legal heavyweight, a one-time partner to legendary Texas trial lawyer John O'Quinn.
Beyond the money, Briles has little to lose.
He's professionally radioactive at this point. Briles may well be convinced that a legal win against Baylor would clear his name and give him a fresh start. Even if it doesn't, he might have satisfaction for being fired.
Regardless of what happen, the developments Thursday indicate Briles is not just going to quietly fade away.
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