Briles drops libel lawsuit without settlement

Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Rylee Seavers | Staff Writer

Former head football coach Art Briles has dropped the libel lawsuit against Baylor regents without any settlement. The libel suit was filed in early December 2016, alleging that three Baylor regents had damaged Briles’ reputation, preventing him from being hired for another head coaching position, according to KWTX.

“All he wanted was his good name,” Briles’ attorney Earnest Cannon said in an interview with KWTX.

Baylor University officials declined to comment to the Lariat on the dropped lawsuit.

Cannon told KWTX that Briles chose to drop the case because he wants to move on with his life and gain some peace for himself and his family. Cannon also said the lawsuit was not about the money. He expressed regret that those affiliated with Baylor would never know the truth, KWTX reported.

The lawsuit was filed against Baylor Board Chairman Ron Murff, Regent J. Cary Gray, Regent David Harper and Reagan Ramsower, senior vice president and chief operating officer, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald. Briles accused these board members of libel, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.

“A man can only carry so much,” Cannon told KWTX.

Cannon also told KWTX that Baylor had an endless supply of money, lawyers and resources to use regarding the lawsuit, and it had “overloaded” Briles.

According to the Dallas News, members of the Board of Regents made the comments that led to the lawsuit, in October, after Briles and Baylor reached an agreement regarding his contract settlement. Baylor announced in June 2016 that Briles and the university had come to a mutual agreement, ending Briles’ employment with Baylor, according to a press release.

After Briles left Baylor, the accused regents made comments to the media, alleging that Briles had knowledge that 19 Baylor football players had been accused of domestic violence, sexual assault and gang rape, since 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal.

After leaving Baylor, Briles expressed interest in a head coaching position at the University of Houston, according to CBS Sports.

“After discussion with University of Houston leadership, we developed a list of candidates to be interviewed that did not include Art,” University of Houston athletic director Hunter Yurachek said to CBS Sports.

The lawsuit also alleged that Briles was fired without any warning and was never presented with any of the facts behind Baylor’s fact finding report after he requested them, KWTX reported.