Universities, look again

For all intents and purposes, the very soul of two of the states’s largest public universities could be up for sale, all for the prospect of a winning football program.

According to multiple reports, University of Houston football coordinator Kendall Briles, who had been part of the Baylor University’s coaching staff during the school’s infamous sexual assault scandal in 2016, has been named as a possible candidate for Texas State’s vacant head coaching job.

Art Briles, Kendal’s father, who was the central figure in the Baylor scandal, is reportedly a candidate for the Texas Tech head football coaching position following the dismissal of Kliff Kingsbury Sunday.

Both of those possible moves make many in the sports world cringe with disgust and contempt. They are possible moves that, should they come to fruition, could lead to upheaval and protest from students, who would have the right to feel concerned for their safety.

Simply put, the idea of a Briles-led team, no matter by who, where or when, sets a poor standard in what we are teaching our young people, primarily young men.

The lesson this would teach? That all can be forgiven, even something as heinous as allowing a culture of rape, so long as you can deliver wins in a football-crazed state such as Texas.

It’s not the first time money and big-time collegiate athletics have changed the way universities go about the hiring and firing of coaches and staff members.

What happened at Baylor under the Briles name went far beyond a simple recruiting violation.

It wasn’t offering money, shoes and cars to amateur athletes.

They cultivated a culture that made it easy for football players to assault and rape female students. For years, members of the Baylor football staff under Art Briles employed what some reports called a “Show them a good time” policy for prospective recruits.

According to a New York Times report, a lawsuit filed against the university in 2016 claimed more than 50 women were assaulted by 30 or so Baylor football players during the years Briles was in power. An investigation by Pennsylvania firm Pepper Hamilton found the university did little to help victims of sexual assault, in essence turning a blind eye to those who claimed they were assaulted by football players.

Subsequently, Baylor, which had been a football pushover for decades, rose to the ranks of a powerhouse overnight. The program used women as a tool to bring in star recruits and talent.

It might be easy for a school such as Texas State, which has recently fallen on hard times, to be sold on a coach who can make such a turnaround, even with the baggage that comes with it.

None of that should matter. Facts are facts. And even in a society where second and even third chances are given, what happened under Kendal and Art Briles’ watch is practically unforgivable.

Texas State’s embattled athletic department, which is already under fire for how it fired its former head coach, should look elsewhere. So should Texas Tech.

There are plenty of coaches in the college football sea that offer the same results. It will be incumbent upon the universities to do the hard work and search for them.

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