Board of Regents fires Briles, Starr removed as President

Baylor coach Art Briles walks into McLane Stadium on Oct. 11 against TCU. The Bears overcame a late victory to win 61-58 but could not do the same against West Virginia.
Skye Duncan | Lariat Photographer
By Kalyn Story | Staff Writer


Baylor Media Communications announced that President Ken Starr will continue his role as Chancellor and law Professor as Dr. David Garland is named interim university president. Baylor head football coach Art Briles will be suspended with intent to terminate after his 8 seasons with the Bears. Athletic Director Ian McCaw is sanctioned and placed on probation, and Baylor will self-report to the NCAA.

“We have made these decisions, because, above all, we must safeguard our students and our campus,” said Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. “We must set a new course to ensure the leaders of the University place a premium on responding effectively and with sensitivity to those impacted by the tragedy of interpersonal violence.”

The university’s actions took place after Virginia law firm Pepper Hamilton completed their investigation into Baylor’s previous handling of sexual assault cases. They found that Baylor failed to implement Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA).

“Baylor failed to consistently support complainants through the provision of interim measures; and in some cases, the University failed to take action to identify and eliminate a potential hostile environment, prevent its recurrence or address its effects,” Baylor Media Communications said of Pepper Hamilton’s findings.

In response to the Pepper Hamilton report, The Board of Regents has created the full-time position of Chief Compliance Officer that will report directly to the Office of the President.

“We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus. This investigation revealed the University’s mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students,” Willis said, “The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us. Our students and their families deserve more, and we have committed our full attention to improving our processes, establishing accountability and ensuring appropriate actions are taken to support former, current and future students.”

Officials, including Art Briles and President Ken Starr, have been accused of mishandling several sexual assault allegations — particularly against football players.

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reported that players were notified of Briles’ dismissal via text message from Briles.

Several players have tweeted their support for Briles, including junior linebacker Taylor Young who tweeted “I’m not playing until we get [Coach Art Briles] back.”

The report specifically mentioned the football team and athletic department’s failure in reporting sexual assaults.

“Pepper found specific failings within both the football program and athletics department leadership, including a failure to identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player and to a report of dating violence,” Baylor Media Communications said.

Members of Baylor University’s Board of Regents held a phone briefing today at 1:30 p.m.

The regents did not discuss individual people during their conference call, but in a statement released today, Baylor said other members of the Administration and Athletics program have also been dismissed in addition to Art Briles. They will not publicly state who has been dismissed or disciplined.

The regents said they and Ken Starr reached an agreement “in principle” for Starr to transition to Chancellor and remain the Louise L. Morrison Chair of Constitutional Law at Baylor Law School.

The regents also said on their conference call that they have “unlimited resources” to devote to the Title IX office at Baylor.

“We, as the governing Board of this University, offer our apologies to the many who sought help from the University.  We are deeply sorry for the harm that survivors have endured,” Ron Murff, chair-elect of the Baylor Board of Regents said in a statement. “Baylor’s mission to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community remains our primary imperative. The Board has taken decisive action to ensure the University’s priorities are aligned with our unyielding commitment to that mission.”