Baylor University football coach-in-exile Art Briles is not going to go down without an ugly fight. The coach is now accusing Baylor of making him a scapegoat in its ongoing investigation into the alleged mishandling of multiple reports of sexual assault by football players.
Jasmin Hernandez says former football player Tevin Elliott raped her, and is suing Baylor and Briles in federal court for enabling the player. (Elliott is currently in prison after being convicted of a separate rape.) The school has indicated that it would be willing to settle with Hernandez, but Thursday Briles made it clear that he is not.
In multiple court filings in the suit, Briles claims that the report the school commissioned from the Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton — the one that says Briles and his staff did not take action to stop Baylor players from committing sexual assaults and intimidated victims of those assaults — was commissioned in order to make the coach a scapegoat.
"The conclusion is inescapable that the motive of Baylor University and the Board of Regents was to use its Head Football Coach and the Baylor Athletic Department as a camouflage to disguise and distract from its own institutional failure to comply with Title IX and other federal civil rights laws. It is equally clear from the actions of Baylor University and the Board of Regents, both in the media and in its oral and written communications with Coach Briles since his wrongful termination [Briles has been "suspended with the intent to terminate"], that they have ignored and repeatedly violated the clear duties that they owe under Texas law and by contract to Art Briles. Baylor University and the Board of Regents have refused to provide Coach Art Briles with any information or grounds which they used to support the termination of his employment. Anything that Baylor University or the Board of Regents have discovered or learned pertaining to Coach Art Briles is privileged and confidential and must be turned over to me immediately," an attorney representing Briles, Ernest Cannon, writes.
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Briles is being represented in the lawsuit by Baylor's attorneys. He is seeking to sever that relationship because, according to the court documents, the school "failed to honor the attorney-client relationship, the attorney-client privilege, and Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas." The coach is arguing that information he provided to Baylor in April is being used to support his termination.
Briles is also seeking access to all materials used by Pepper Hamilton in compiling its report. That information is possible ammunition in any unlawful termination action filed by Briles. Without that ace card in hand, Briles is unwilling to agree to any settlement that Hernandez and school might reach.