Dallas Coaches and football players from Kansas University, TCU, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma State arrived Monday at the Omni Dallas Hotel ready to take on all questions at Big 12 Football Media Days. But on some occasions the topic of conversation steered away from those programs and toward the disastrous past few months for Baylor.
A sexual-assault scandal on the Waco, Texas, campus led to offseason changes in the university’s leadership, with football coach Art Briles and athletic director Ian McCaw pushed out in its wake, as well as BU president Kenneth Starr.
While TCU coach Gary Patterson, whose program has shared the Big 12 spotlight with the Bears on the football field the past few seasons, skirted discussing whether BU made the correct decision in getting rid of Briles — “You know, Baylor is not my problem. TCU is my problem,” Patterson said during a morning news conference — the Horned Frogs coach did attempt to throw some Big 12 solidarity in the Bears’ direction.
“Number one, Baylor is a good university. I have a lot of Baylor friends, and (new head coach) Jim Grobe and I have known each other for a long time, were on the Ethics Committee together … They’re a good football program, and they’ve got a lot of good players coming back. I don’t see that changing much.”
Still, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said the landscape for college football coaches has evolved, as the men in charge of dozens of student-athletes attempt to learn from the troubling events at Baylor.
“I think it made all coaches take a second look at how you do things. That’s close to home,” Kingsbury said, noting in the past Briles’ success was something other coaches tried to replicate. “I’ve known him a long time and you try to coach your players your core values and how to be a good man. But you’re not with them 24 hours a day, so you talk about accountability with your own players and holding each other to that. But, yeah, definitely, I think it made every coach in America take a step back and say, ‘OK, what can we do better in that area?’”
Meanwhile, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy likened the hot-button Baylor discussion to talking politics or religion.
“… There is not anything that any of us can say other than we have confidence or I have confidence in our league that we will do everything possible to try to make the best decisions possible,” Gundy offered. “It hasn’t really affected us at Oklahoma State.”
While the OSU coach said he knew very little about the scope of the Baylor situation and what’s going on with the program now, he praised the athletic department’s decision to hire Grobe, who worked previously as the head coach at Ohio (1995-2000) and Wake Forest (2001-13).
The Bears will have their media sessions today, along with Texas, West Virginia, Kansas State and Oklahoma.