WACO, Texas – In a move that stunned students and fans, Baylor University fired head football coach Art Briles.
Recently, Briles and Baylor University President Ken Starr faced criticism for possibly ignoring sexual assaults involving Baylor football players.
ESPN says Briles was fired as Baylor awaits an independent report from a law firm, which investigated the school’s response to the allegations.
According to NBC News, Baylor did not report a single instance of sexual assault in a four-year span, according to federal statistics.
Despite that fact, two Baylor football players were convicted of sexual assault in 2012 and 2013.
ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” spoke to three unnamed students earlier this month, who said the school failed to act after they reported being sexually assaulted by Tevin Elliott, who was convicted of sexual assault in 2012.
One of the victims said a school administrator told her there were six complaints against Elliott, but that Baylor couldn’t act because “it turns into a he said-she said,” the report alleges.
The report, which was released on Thursday, claimed the university’s “student conduct processes were wholly inadequate to consistently provide a prompt and equitable response under Title IX; Baylor failed to consistently support complainants through the provision of interim measures; and in some cases the university failed to take action to identify and eliminate a potential hostile environment, prevent its recurrence or address its effects.”
Investigators also said “actions by University administrators directly discouraged some complainants from reporting or participating in student conduct processes and in one instance constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault.”
The report specifically mentioned Baylor’s football program, adding that there are “significant concerns about the tone and culture within Baylor’s football program as it relates to accountability for all forms of student athlete misconduct.”
It also claims that the football program and athletic department “failed to take appropriate action in response to these reports.”
As a result of the investigation, university officials announced that Ken Starr will no longer serve as the university’s president and that Briles was “suspended indefinitely with intent to terminate.”
Other members of the athletics program and the administration were also dismissed.
“We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus. This investigation revealed the University’s mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students,” said Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. “The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us. Our students and their families deserve more, and we have committed our full attention to improving our processes, establishing accountability and ensuring appropriate actions are taken to support former, current and future students.”
Briles has been the head coach at Baylor since 2008.
According to KXAS, Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett will be named the interim head coach.