Grambling State’s rental of Art Briles still faces challenges (report)

Editor’s Note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at https://www.rainn.org.

When news surfaced that the Grambling State football program had hired former Baylor head coach Art Briles as its new offensive coordinator, it sent shockwaves through the college football community and caused frustration for the audience of legendary GSU player and coach Doug Williams.

However, according to the Monroe News-Star, there are still several hurdles before Briles can be approved for the job. As of Friday, the GSU had not informed the University of Louisiana system that it planned to hire Briles.

When the university does, Briles will need a majority vote on the 16-member board to hire freshman GSU football coaching staff Hue Jackson. The council will not meet again until April 28, according to the Star.

In the past five years, the board has not turned down a football manager’s contract or terms. However, with the controversy surrounding Briles, the board is expected to carefully consider the hiring.

Johnson: Grambling State’s message is loud and clear with its hiring of Art Briles

According to the Star, the UL system has amplified its position by ensuring that employees promptly disclose accusations of sexual misconduct. Depending on how the board looks at Briles’ past, it will determine if he can coach the Tigers offense next season.

Briles can be approved by the UL system in two ways. Either option, however, will still require a vote from the board. One option includes the program accepting a contract and presenting Briles’ deal for approval to the system’s athletics committee, then a vote by the board.

“The individual contract will be on the agenda of our athletics committee and the board will vote on this contract individually,” said Cami Geisman, vice president of external affairs and chief of staff for the UL system.

The second option would have the GSU hire Briles on an “at will” basis. If that happens, the council “will vote on the process used to hire the person and not the individual contract”.

In 2016, Briles was fired from Baylor after a massive scandal revealed that Briles and university administrators ignored dozens of sexual assault allegations. He hasn’t coached a college football program since being fired from Baylor.

According to the 2017 lawsuit filed by a former Baylor student, there were more than 50 acts of rape committed by 31 different players in Briles’ former program between 2011 and 2014, including five gang rapes. The law firm hired by Baylor to investigate the allegations said the football program and athletic department failed to “identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player”.

Meanwhile, Briles could start coaching at GSU because it’s not uncommon for university employees to start work before UL grants approval for a hire. The Tigers will begin spring training on March 4.

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