Art Briles Resigns From Grambling State

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Art Briles, the former Baylor football coach who was hired last week as Grambling State University’s offensive coordinator, has resigned four days after being hired.

The news was first reported by ESPN and confirmed by the school.

Baylor fired Briles in 2016 after an investigation found that he and other coaches on his staff failed to report sexual assault accusations made against their players.

Briles released a statement on Monday in which he thanked Grambling State for the opportunity to join its staff.

“I feel that my continued presence will be a distraction to you and your team,” Briles said, “which is the last thing that I want.”

Even though a 2016 investigation conducted by an outside law firm hired by Baylor revealed that leaders of the school’s football program, on several occasions, covered up instances of sexual violence, an N.C.A.A. committee did not find Briles guilty of violating its rules.

Briles had not worked in college football since 2016 until Grambling State’s surprising decision to bring him onto its staff. He had recently been the head football coach at Mount Vernon High School in Texas before stepping down in 2020.

Grambling State, a historically Black college in Louisiana that plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, did not release an official statement about Briles’s hiring and had said it would not discuss its reason for bringing him back to college football, according to Brian Howard, a spokesman for the athletic department.

The school faced backlash on social media and from prominent figures in college sports, including Doug Williams, who starred at Grambling State and became the first Black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl in 1988 with Washington.

Williams, who served two stints as the university’s head football coach, told the Washington Post that he did not support the hire.

“I don’t know why Grambling State had to go be the one to hire him, so I’m not a fan at all,” he said.

It is unclear whether Grambling State expected the reaction to Briles’s hiring and whether that led to his resignation. The university declined to make anyone available for comment.

Instead of discussing Briles’s history at Baylor, or how it planned to protect its female students going forward, Howard deferred to an interview Briles gave to a local television station last week.

When Briles was asked what he would do if he was made aware of a sexual assault allegation concerning one of his athletes, he said he would report it immediately to Grambling’s coordinator for Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex at universities; Hue Jackson, the former Cleveland Browns coach who was hired to lead the program in December; and Trayvean Scott, Grambling’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics.

Briles said in the interview that the procedures for reporting Title IX violations and sexual assault cases were “not as available as they should be for everybody” when he led Baylor’s football program. In its 2021 report, the N.C.A.A. said Briles had “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 had released a statement Friday through his foundation defending the decision to hire Briles, citing forgiveness, redemption and enlightenment as “key factors.”

“The Hue Jackson Foundation has been dedicated to fighting against ALL forms of sexual abuse and exploitation as well as other forms of racial and social bias,” the statement said, adding, “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 others the importance of knowing how to prevent victimization.”

Grambling isn’t the first team to hire and then quickly part ways with Briles in recent years. In 2017, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League hired Briles as an assistant coach, but they reneged less than 24 hours later.

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