Former Baylor head football coach Art Briles recently sued three school regents and a vice president for libel and slander. He accuses them of falsely stating that he knew of reported sexual assaults and alleged gang rapes by his former players and failed to report them to authorities.
The lawsuit, which names board of regents Ronald Murff, J. Cary Gray and David Harper, and senior vice president Reagan Ramsower, seeks unspecified damages in excess of $1 million. Click here to read the story
Briles claims that the three named Baylor regents conspired to damage his reputation and keep him from getting another coaching job. Click here to read the story
Because Briles is a public figure he will have to meet the arduous “actual malice standard” set by the U.S. Supreme Court in order to prevail at trial. The actual malice standard will require him to prove, not only that the statements were false, but the Baylor regents knew that the statements were false when they were made;, or that the regents acted in reckless disregard of the statements truth or falsity.
Claims by public figures such as these very rarely prevail in court, and should this one go to court it is very likely Coach Briles will lose. Terry W. Yates says, “this lawsuit isn’t about the money. Briles is betting that the defendants will not want to litigate this ugly mess and that they will agree to settle out of court.”
Any settlement will remain confidential, and simply be reported to the public as settled for an “undisclosed amount of money”. “That would be the case even if Briles settles for $1,” Yates says. “All Coach Briles really wants to be able to say, and have a settlement to add credence to his argument, that he was a scapegoat for the Baylor mess. His end hope is that a settlement would give another university president a basis to hire him as their next football coach.