Texas Tech Football Isn’t Desperate Enough to Hire Art Briles
I honestly can't believe this is coming up again, but here we are. Message boards and social media platforms have been abuzz this week with the rumor that mysterious big money donors have taken the initiative to get the ball rolling to hire Art Briles to take over the Red Raiders football program.
Is Matt Wells the guy moving forward? The silence of the administration since the win over Kansas has been pretty stark. There have been zero updates to his health after testing positive for COVID-19 except for a press release saying one of the cases still considered active in the athletic department.
With no reassurances or support from Texas Tech, it's hard to see him coming back next year. With an opening at head coach, those Briles rumors will reach a fever pitch. What's crazy is, Texas Tech is still technically waiting on confirmation if they'll be in a bowl game or not. It's not about if they deserve it; they're eligible to get an invite if enough teams opt-out in front of them.
Who would coach the bowl game? Not Matt Wells.
Let's talk about Art Briles. His time at Baylor ended spectacularly as he was fired and given a buyout after failing to alert the proper authorities after alleged sexual assaults. That was in 2016. The brief history of Briles since then is that he's been turned away from the CFL and banished to Italy before landing at a 3A high school in Texas which is now 12-2 and deep in the playoffs after going 8-3 last season. Has the four-season de facto suspension from the NCAA been long enough of a punishment for the embroiled Briles?
He and Baylor are still being investigated by the NCAA if that changes your decision. There is a growing sentiment that Briles was just the scapegoat for the Baylor fiasco, and there's been a lot of money spent to try and convince the public that that's more truth than just sentiment. The newly released report was commissioned by John Eddie Williams, Jr., managing partner of the Houston-based Williams Hart Law Firm and a Baylor alum.
Williams hired Joseph Hunt from the Alston & Bird Law Firm to investigate the investigation into Briles and the Baylor football program. The investigation findings were released in a 20-page report that was allegedly passed on to the Texas Tech Board of Regents and claims to exonerate Briles. If you want to read the entire report, you can find it on footballscoop.com. The abridged version is that it wasn't Briles' fault because Baylor didn't have the infrastructure to handle the caseload of sexual assault allegations campus-wide, thus was used as the fall guy.
There are other points, such as questioning the legitimacy of the infamous Pepper Hamilton report and using testimony from Briles himself saying he didn't know anything. Why would Briles lie, right? Of course, the 'Texas Tech is going to hire Art Briles' rumors would come up just months after Texas Tech fired its women's basketball head coach and staff and forced out its head softball coach, both for alleged abuse within the programs.
Wouldn't it be incredibly tone-deaf for the Red Raiders to hire Coach Briles and his baggage to join a campus administration that is trying to distance itself from the perception that the athletic department doesn't care about its female student-athletes? To me, this isn't about whether or not Art Briles is innocent.
In today's landscape, perception is reality, and the perception of Texas Tech hiring Art Briles is one of utter desperation. The administration, namely Kirby Hocutt, would be giving away his credibility and power to accept a check and sell his career for the hope of a few more wins in football. It wouldn't only be Hocutt. President Dr. Lawrence Schovanec would also be sacrificing his standing among his academic peers by allowing the athletic department to make decisions that could be detrimental to the university and its students.
I get that Texas Tech has been a bad football team, but it's not a bad program. The Red Raiders' profits, facilities, and infrastructure are all top five in the Big 12, they've just had a terrible return on investment from the last three head coaches. The winning percentage from the last decade does not line up with where this program should be.
Texas Tech should be Oklahoma State on the field but have been closer to Kansas, which is why the fanbase is panicking as we enter this off-season. Why would Hocutt and Dr. Schovanec bet their reputations on a radioactive 65-year-old head coach that would immediately put Texas Tech at the center of the #MeToo movement and effectively put their jobs up as collateral that he can give Texas Tech football a winning season for the first time since 2015? I sincerely doubt it.
They aren't that desperate.
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