April 19, 2024


Art Shines Through

Art Briles resigns at Grambling State after hiring sparks outrage stemming from Baylor scandal

Art Briles has resigned from his role as offensive coordinator at Grambling State after just four days, the school confirmed on Monday. Briles was announced as offensive coordinator on Feb. 24 by Grambling State coach Hue Jackson, a decision that immediately drew criticism. 

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your coaching staff at Grambling State University,” Briles said in a statement to Sports Illustrated. “Unfortunately, I feel that my continued presence will be a distraction to you and your team, which is the last thing that I want. I have the utmost respect [for] the university, and your players.” 

Briles served as head coach at Baylor from 2008-15, and was known as one of the nation’s top offensive minds. The Bears went 65-37 with its first two Big 12 championships and New Year’s Six/BCS bowl berths in program history. 

However, Briles has not coached at the collegiate level since May 2016, when he was suspended and subsequently fired after eight seasons following an independent investigation into Baylor’s handling of sexual assault allegations during his tenure. The review by Pepper Hamilton LLP found that Briles and his staff failed to properly handle Title IX issues on his team. Athletic director Ian McCaw and university president Ken Starr also resigned due to the scandal. 

An NCAA infractions panel ruled that Briles was not guilty of any NCAA violations in August 2021. However, the panel concluded that Briles “failed to meet even the most basic expectations of how a person should react to the kind of conduct at issue in this case.” 

Jackson, a former NFL head coach, was not dissuaded from becoming the first collegiate coach to add Briles to his staff. He released a public statement through his Hue Jackson Foundation claiming that forgiveness, redemption and enlightenment were the key factors into why Jackson, a longtime NFL play caller himself, opted to hire the controversial Briles. 

“We have a clear understanding of the role that coaches and others who have a position of trust play in the loves of those they meet,” Jackson wrote. “We also know and understand the process of identifying risks, helping others to heal and importance of prevention. We believe that through the hiring of coach Briles and the well-developed programs we have in place, this hire will be instrumental in teaching the others of importance of knowing how to prevent victimization, proper reporting procedures, provide adequate resources to individuals who have been victimized and develop strong law enforcement partnerships within the community.”

Grambling State released a statement to CBS Sports pointing out that the statement was Jackson’s alone and not reflective of the school’s perspective. 

“The Hue Jackson Foundation is not a part of Grambling State University,” the statement read. “This is his own Foundation and acts independently from the University.”

Previously, former Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson was blocked from hiring Briles as offensive coordinator in 2019. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League also hired Briles in 2017 before relenting to public pressure. Briles coached an American football team in Italy in 2018 and later was head coach at Mount Vernon High School in East Texas from 2019-20.