The fact that former Baylor head football coach Art Briles is unemployable in an educational setting seems indisputable. So, when Texas Tech University fired its head football coach Kliff Kingsbury Sunday after a disappointing loss to Baylor on Saturday, Briles is the last person that should have been proposed for the open position. However, the Fort Worth Star Telegram ran an opinion column Monday suggesting that Texas Tech offer the job to Briles.
Briles was fired in 2016 after he was found to be complicit in a sexual assault scandal that rocked the university and brought about a massive overhaul in administration and coaching staff. Briles has been actively seeking coaching jobs since his firing and recently accepted a bid to coach a football team in Italy starting in 2019.
However, the Star Telegram suggests that he could get out of the Italy contract (and should) in order to coach at Texas Tech. This is a ridiculous suggestion, and we urge Texas Tech to reject the proposition completely.
Not only was Briles found to be responsible for neglecting and subverting Title IX efforts to investigate football players accused of sexual assault or misconduct, he brought players onto the team who had records, and seemed to put winning games above encouraging moral and ethical behavior. Most recently, he received a sanction from the NCAA under the label of “Head Coach Responsibility: Failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.” While the Star Telegram opinion column acknowledges this, and concedes that Briles may be more work than he is worth, it completely misses the point.
To think that Briles should be in the running for a coaching position at a collegiate level at this point is being incredibly generous. The man showed a complete disregard for the women involved in the Baylor Title IX scandal and put winning above honor and honesty. Briles doesn’t deserve to coach college football again. But it’s more than that — Briles coaching a Texas team would be an insult to every woman involved in the Title IX scandal. It would say to women who have had the most intimate, personal, terrifying moments of their lives put on trial that Texas Tech doesn’t care.
This doesn’t just have a lasting impact on Baylor women, but also on Texas Tech women. Briles being a coach would send the message that Texas Tech values having a winning football team more than they value the mental, emotional and physical health and safety of their female population. Hiring a man who failed to comply with Title IX for years would show how little women matter when it comes to institutional success.
Briles doesn’t deserve to coach football, and women at Baylor and Texas Tech don’t deserve to feel like they’re a mere hindrance to the success of a football team. If Texas Tech values its female population, respects the brave women who came forward in the Baylor Title IX scandal and wants to make a stand against sexual violence, its administration should not consider hiring Art Briles.