Like many others, Briles leaves coaching in shame

by Gary Shelton on June 1, 2016 · 0 comments

in College Sports in Florida, Florida State University, University of Florida

Wednesday, 6 a.m.

And so Art Briles is tossed out of the fort.

He walks away in shame, chased away by the very school he made matter. There is stain to his legacy. He is a man who defended sexual abuse, who shaped realities to where they did not happen. Fortunately, he worked for a school that treated a lack of honor more seriously than a good won-loss record.

And so Briles leaves, and college football is better for his passing. In removing Briles, Baylor used phrases like “shocked” and “outraged” and “horrified” and “mishandling.” They could have added “criminal” and “reprehensible” and “scandalous.” A guy turns his head to sexual misconduct, and it doesn't matter that he won 10 games or more in four of the last five seasons. He has to go.

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This wasn't just a coach in charge of a program where players kept getting out of line, mind you. This was repeated blind-eyes over domestic violence. This was permission for a team to run wild. This was serial misbehavior. Yes, Briles had to go.

It's amazing that this keeps happening, especially when you think of all the lives that a college coach shapes. No, it isn't always domestic violence. But isn't it amazing how often these leaders of men go down badly?

There was Barry Switzer, who resigned just ahead of the posse back in 1989. He quit Oklahoma in 1989, after swearing most of the off-season that he would not quit. As soon as he walked out the door, the NCAA police slapped a three-year probation on the school.

There was Woody Hayes, who slugged a Clemson player (Charlie Baumann) during the game. Hayes was a noted bully, but he won enough to pass it off as charm. Ha, people said, what a competitor to smash that camera. Hayes was one of the many coaches guilty of misdeeds he would never allow from his players.

There was Joe Paterno. You can still debate how much Paterno knew about Jerry Sandusky's crimes, and how often he turned his head. But for crying out loud, isn't it time the accusations stopped?

Urban Meyer is still coaching, and still clinging to the high ground. Last year, he suggested he never would have put up with Jameis Winston. But Aaron Hernandez, murderer, was just nifty. What a con artist.

There was Jim Tressel, who played players who were ineligible for swapping merchandise for tattoos.

Yes, you can throw Bobby Bowden onto the pile if you want. His last scandal was when his players cheated in an online music course. It's silly to blame Bowden for that. I've said it before: The only thing that Bowden knew about music is that the 1812 Overture sounded better, in fact, in 1812.

There was Pete Carroll, who managed to get out of USC before the NCAA came in with their fake badges. There was Jackie Sherrill and Danny Ford and Gary Barnett. There is Ron Meyer and Hugh Freeze and Charlie Pell.

What's old saying? Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely? Do coaches get lazy when they cut corners, or do they buy into their own authority? Are they looking for an edge so thoroughly they'll cheat to get one?

Either way, it wouldn't have been that hard for Briles to be a decent guy. It really wouldn't have been. He had just gotten a new 10-year deal. If he did the right thing and won, oh, eight games instead of 10, he would have been revered.

Instead, he turned his head.

Why shouldn't college football do the same?

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