Almost seven months after Baylor fired him amid an ongoing sexual-assaults scandal, former head football coach Art Briles filed a lawsuit against three regents of the school and its vice president. He is accusing them of falsely claiming that he knew of sex crimes that players had been reported to have committed and failed to give that information to the proper agencies.
In his suit, filed Thursday in Texas’s Llano County, Briles also accused Baylor of working to prevent him from getting another coaching job, as first reported by the Associated Press. His lawsuit comes on the same day that the University of Houston, his alma mater, reportedly decided on Lane Kiffin as its new head coach, and several days after that school issued a public statement that it was not considering Briles for the job.
Briles’s lawsuit specifically named regents Chairman Ronald Murff and board members J. Cary Gray and David Harper, as well as Baylor Vice President Reagan Ramsower. They are accused of “libel, slander, tortious interference with prospective business relationships and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
Briles was fired after Baylor hired an outside law firm to look into the school’s practices in terms of responding to alleged incidents of sexual assault. The resulting report, by Pepper Hamilton, 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, to take action in response to reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, and to take action in response to a report of dating violence.”
Shortly after being fired, Briles filed a suit against the school for wrongful termination but reportedly reached a contract settlement. The 61-year-old coach has denied any wrongdoing while at Baylor, but he told ESPN in September that he felt a “responsibility” for what had gone on there.
Briles described the three Baylor regents in his suit as “renegade and rogue individuals” that body, reserving the right to possibly add more regents and accusing them of using a PR firm, Bunting, to plant negative stories about him following his dismissal and settlement. He cited an October Wall Street Journal article which quoted the regents and claimed that Briles “knew about an alleged incident and didn’t alert police, the school’s judicial-affairs staff or the Title IX office in charge of coordinating the school’s response to sexual violence.”
That story also disclosed that 17 women reported incidents of sexual or domestic assault involving 19 football players — including four alleged gang rapes — since 2011. “Prior to their publication in the wall Street Journal, Coach Briles had never heard these facts or these numbers,” his lawsuit said.
In November, Baylor issued a lengthy statement in which it claimed that Briles, along with former athletic director Ian McCaw and other athletic department officials, were informed a female student-athlete’s accusation of gang rape by five football players and did nothing about it. At the time, an attorney for Briles described the school’s account of the incident, which it said occurred in 2013, as “false.”
The lawsuit also cites a quote by Gray in a November Dallas Morning News story — “You would feel like you got run over by a truck if you heard what we heard” — as “especially malicious, spiteful, egregious and purposely hurtful to Coach Briles.” According to the suit, “Gray is well aware that Coach Briles’ mother and father were killed in a tragic collision with a truck” on their way to see their son play in a 1976 football game.
Briles is seeking unspecified damages, including for “pecuniary loss” for how the defendants “likely ended his profession and career as a Head Football Coach at any level,” but he is asking for “monetary relief over $1,000,000.” A Baylor spokesman told The Post that the school had “no comment at this time.”