Ex-Baylor AD believes Art Briles will be 'largely exonerated' and a coaching candidate next season

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Art Briles will be "largely exonerated" and available to coach again at the FBS level after next season, his former boss at Baylor told CBS Sports.

Liberty athletic director Ian McCaw predicts that, following an ongoing NCAA investigation at Baylor, "[Briles] will be in the 2019 hiring cycle."

Previously Baylor's athletic director, McCaw hired Briles in 2008. Briles led the Bears to unprecedented success over the next eight years, winning two Big 12 titles and posting four seasons of 10+ wins.

Briles was fired in May 2016 in the wake of an investigation of a sexual assault scandal on the campus. McCaw resigned shortly after the results of the investigation were released. He had been at the school since 2003. Briles eventually settled his contract with Baylor for $15 million. McCaw was hired at Liberty in November 2016.

"I think he's going to get largely exonerated," McCaw said of Briles. "I think people right now are saying, 'Holy cow, he's implicated in [covering up] all these sexual assaults and so forth.' I think the truth is going to be he comes out of the NCAA stuff clean."

Briles is currently in Italy coaching the Guelfi Firenze adult league team. Two of his former Baylor players are on the team, according to McCaw.

McCaw criticized the school's investigation of the scandal in a deposition obtained last year by the Waco Tribune. He said then there was a "conspiracy of regents" to downplay a more campus-wide sexual assault problem.

In a statement released in response at the time, Baylor said McCaw had "numerous, factually baseless assertions" in the depositions.

McCaw told CBS Sports: "As more information comes out on the Baylor scandal, they're going to find out [Briles] was scapegoated for a much larger campus wide problem and the failings were in the police department and across campus which is what I know to be the case."

The NCAA sent Baylor a formal notice of allegations in October 2018. In it, the association alleged a lack of institution control and failure by Briles to promote an atmosphere of compliance. That means Baylor could be subject to major sanctions.

Sources told CBS Sports that the Briles camp remains optimistic about the outcome of the NCAA investigation.

"I'm not concerned [about the NCAA investigation]. I'm not involved in it but it seems like it's been an ongoing conversation," current Baylor coach Matt Rhule told CBS Sports last week.

McCaw made three points to support his assertions.

  • A report commissioned by Baylor in 2014 -- two years before the scandal broke -- did not mention football. The report concluded the school was lacking in Title IX and Clery Act compliance. Title IX is the 47-year federal law prohibits discrimination, based on gender, by any educational institutional that receives federal funding. The Clery Act requires campuses to disclose campus crime statistics and security information.
  • McCaw also mentioned there was no football mentions in a series of lawsuits against Baylor by plaintiffs referred to as "Jane Doe." Baylor contends that at least two of the 15 lawsuits do mention football. 
  • In that deposition referenced earlier, McCaw said he was "disgusted at that point with the regents, the racism, the phony finding of fact." McCaw told CBS Sports: "It's becoming more clear there may have been an attempt [in Baylor's investigation] to target black football players."

Baylor responded with the following statement: "Per the NCAA process, we are prohibited from making any public comments related to the investigation."

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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