Art Briles Sues Baylor Regents for Defamation

Apparently not content to quietly leave Baylor University, Art Briles, the school's deposed head football coach, sued university regents and a school vice president Thursday for defamation and conspiracy. Briles' suit centers on the claim that he did not, contrary to statements made by regents and the university, know about an alleged 2013 gang rape of a female Baylor athlete.

Briles begins his lawsuit with a Bible verse, the one from Exodus about not bearing false witness against one's neighbor. The suit then goes on to claim that there has been a concerted effort by Baylor, primarily through its public relations firm G.F. Bunting + CO, to spread fake news about the former coach:

"On October 28, 2016, the Baylor Regents Defendants caused an article to appear in The Wall Street Journal, one of Bunting’s advertised “friendly media” outlets. This article contained a storyline fabricated by these Defendants with their PR firm, Bunting, in order to make Coach Briles a scapegoat for the failures and wrongdoing of the Baylor Board of Regents," the suit says. "The false information in this article had never before been disclosed to Art Briles. The untruths appearing in the Wall Street Journal were never before cited by any member of the Baylor Board of Regents until the PR firm of Bunting was hired to recreate the story."
The Wall Street Journal article in question featured several anonymous regents contradicting Briles' claim — one he's made throughout the investigation into more than 15 alleged sexual assaults by Baylor football players — that he reported every alleged assault about which he was told.

Briles says that he was wrongfully terminated and any subsequent allegations about what he may or may not have known and done are just part of a cover-up. "These allegations now being provided to the media by the Baylor Regents Defendants through Bunting, are false and have been re-created to hide the failures and wrongful acts of the Baylor University Board of Regents," the suit says. "The Baylor Regents Defendants are named herein because there is conclusive proof that they have personally made false statements with malicious motives."

Because of the regents' actions, Briles alleges, he's been subject to "public hatred, contempt, ridicule," which has left him unable to find another job as a college football coach.

Briles seeks damages from the school for libel, defamation and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. Baylor has yet to issue a response to Briles claims.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young