When's the last time a university put out a statement disputing reports it's even considering a particular coaching candidate? When has a school publicly said absolutely, positively no to an alum who played at the university and succeeded as a coach there?
Houston's statement Saturday ruling out Art Briles as a candidate was necessary for the university. For Briles, these 50 words show definitively he isn't getting a college job anytime soon, if ever.
"Earlier this week Art Briles expressed interest to me regarding the Houston head coach position," Houston athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. "After discussion with University of Houston leadership, we developed a list of candidates to be interviewed that did not include Art. At this time, we will have no further comment on potential candidates or timeline."
Briles' role in the sexual assault scandal at Baylor is so toxic that his alma mater understandably moved quickly to shed him from the coaching search. Good for Houston president Renu Khator and Yurachek, who overruled board chair Tilman Fertitta's interest to interview Briles, according to ESPN. (Fertitta told SB Nation he did not support Briles. "There was a consensus decision that he would not be on the list of coaches considered to replace Herman," Fertitta said. "If I wanted to interview him, he would've been interviewed.")
Less than a month ago, Baylor said Briles and former athletic director Ian McCaw were informed of a female athlete's allegations of a gang rape by five football players, and none passed along the information to proper authorities, as required by federal law.
Feritta's comments last week to The Houston Chronicle and his pressure to get Briles may ultimately hurt Briles more than staying silent. After an ESPN report that Houston would interview Briles, the school was forced to make a definitive statement. It was a statement many people have privately thought regarding Briles' chances to coach again and now will publicly stick with him for a long time.
"There's a lot of administrator and ex-administrators and board of regents from Baylor that say that Art Briles was a scapegoat at Baylor," Fertitta told The Houston Chronicle this week. "I've had calls from (the) ex-chairman of the board of regents there, current big booster there, lawyers that represent Baylor. I have not had one negative call about Art Briles. But there still seems to be a clarity issue."
It's called clarity in wanting a clean conscience and a supportive climate for women. It's called not wanting to hire a coach where 19 different Baylor players since 2011 have been accused of sexual or domestic assault by 17 women.
Maybe a day comes when more information comes out from Baylor somehow helping Briles' future job prospects.
Maybe once more time has passed, memories will get fuzzy about Briles' role in the culture he helped create at Baylor.
Maybe a school will look the other way for the sake of winning games. (Hello, Liberty, where president Jerry Falwell Jr. just horrifically hired McCaw as its new AD while he's embroiled in a lawsuit stemming from Baylor. Liberty's news release included this tone-deaf sentence: "Those in Waco who knew McCaw's Baylor track record were quick to endorse the choice, even though they wished he had opted to stay at Baylor." And Falwell said this of McCaw, "You look at what Baylor was able to do during his tenure, it fits perfectly with where we see our sports programs going.")
The Liberty decision was met with backlash, even within the university community. Imagine a university trying to hire Briles.
We don't need to imagine anymore. Houston's statement Saturday is the most definitive proof yet of how toxic Briles is on the job market.