Art Briles has long defended his tenure at Baylor, where he oversaw a football program that was clearly out of control. Briles has claimed repeatedly that he did nothing wrong during his time as the Bears head football coach, despite a lengthy pattern of assault, sexual assault and general lawlessness by players under his watch. Well, now we know for certain what kind of program Briles ran and it’s exactly as bad as we expected.
On Thursday night, text messages allegedly sent to and from Briles leaked to TMZ and have been published. They paint a picture of a football coach intimately aware of some of his players’ transgressions and how terribly he actually handled those situations. The texts are part of a defamation filed by ex-Baylor assistant athletic director Colin Shillinglaw against the school and several of its regents.
Here is a list of the incidents and texts in question:
-On April 8, 2011 a freshman defensive lineman was cited for marijuana possession and Briles sent the following text to an assistant coach: “Hopefully he’s under the radar enough they wont recognize his name — did he get a ticket from Baylor police or Waco?…Just trying to keep him away from our judicial affairs folks…”
-On February 11, 2013 Briles was notified by an assistant coach that a female student-athlete was accusing a football player of brandishing a gun at her. Briles said: “what a fool — she reporting to authorities.” The assistant coach replied, “She’s acting traumatized…Trying to talk her calm now…Doesn’t seem to want to report though.”
Briles responded: “U gonna talk to (the player).” The assistant responded, “Yes sir, just did. Caught him on the way to class…Squeezed him pretty good.” The incident was never reported to the school’s Judicial Affairs department.
-On September 13, 2013, Shillinglaw sent a text to Briles notifying him that a player who had gotten a massage had “supposedly exposed himself and asked for favors. She (the masseuse) has a lawyer but wants us to handle with discipline and counseling.” Briles’ response was as awful as you’d expect: “What kind of discipline…She a stripper?” Shillinglaw said the player had made the request at a spa while getting a massage, Briles said, “Not quite as bad.”
-On September 20, 2013 a player was arrested for assault and threatening to kill a non-athlete. A member of the football operations staff attempted to talk the victim out of pressing criminal charges. Briles contacted then-athletic director Ian McCaw and said, “Just talked to (the player) — he said Waco PD was there — said they were going to keep it quiet — Wasn’t a set up deal…I’ll get (Shillinglaw) to (check) on (local attorney Jonathan Sibley).” McCaw responded, “That would be great if they keep it quiet!”
-In October of 2013, Shillinglaw and Briles discussed their advocacy for a player who was suspended for repeated drug violations as they were trying to get him back to being eligible. Shillinglaw wrote the following: “Bottom line, he has to meet with (Vice President for Student Life Kevin) Jackson tomorrow morning. If Jackson does not reinstate President will.”
-On May 14, 2014 after Briles learned that one of his players had been caught selling drugs, he sent a text to an assistant coach saying, “I’m hoping it will take care of itself — if not we can discuss best way to move on it.” The incident was never reported to the school’s Judicial Affairs department and Briles arranged for the player to transfer to another school.
-On August 15, 2015 a player was arrested for possession of marijuana. Briles texted an assistant coach, “Sh*t — how about that — he’s gonna (be) in the system now — let me know what you think we should do…I can get (Shillinglaw) to call Sibley or we can…Do we know who complained?”
The assistant responded that the superintendent at the player’s apartment complex had made the complaint and Briles responded, “We need to know who supervisor is and get him to alert us first.”
The court documents that contained these texts also detailed Briles’ failure to notify authorities about a possible gang rape committed by his players when he was told of it.
All-in-all this paints a picture of a man who did whatever he could to avoid his players facing any kind of meaningful punishment for lawless behavior. Clearly protecting the football program was more important than his players being upstanding citizens.