Settlement reached; Briles won’t be back

(KWTX staff photo/file)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Baylor University and suspended head football coach Art Briles have agreed to a settlement and Briles won’t return to the university, a source close to the situation confirmed late Friday morning.

No further details were available, but Briles had just less than $40 million remaining on a contact that ran through 2023.

Baylor regents talked as recently as Monday night about whether to bring Briles back for the 2017 season, sources close to the situation confirmed.

"The Baylor Board of Regents did meet...to discuss a variety of matters. We can confirm, there was no vote regarding the employment status of Art Briles," university spokeswoman Tonya Lewis said in a statement Tuesday.

Some major university supporters were pushing for Briles’ return.

The developments Friday came a day after an attorney for Briles filed an emergency motion in federal court in Waco, claiming that the lawyers who represent the school and Briles jointly in a suit filed by a woman who was raped by a football player are in violation of State Bar rules because they also represent the university in Briles’ termination.

Ernest H. Cannon of Stephenville said in a letter included with the motion that as of May 26, when Briles was effectively fired, any lawyers who represent the school and Briles jointly in the federal civil rights suit filed by Jasmin Hernandez, “are legally, morally and ethically liable to Art Briles and responsible for damages under Texas statutory and common laws for breach of contract, fraud, libel and slander, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among others.”

The motion was withdrawn Friday.

Cannon filed the motion in U.S. District Court in Waco after learning that the university’s attorneys scheduled mediation Friday with Hernandez, who filed a lawsuit in March that names Baylor’s board of regents, Briles, and Athletic Director Ian McCaw as defendants.

Hernandez of Orange County, Calif., alleges in the suit that officials were "deliberately indifferent" to sexual assault allegations against ex-football player Tevin Elliott, who’s serving a prison sentence after he was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault

KWTX doesn’t identify sexual assault victims, but Hernandez has spoken publicly about the case.

“Mr. Briles does not wish to settle the Hernandez civil rights litigation and does not consent to any settlement in that case or in any other case in which (he) is jointly named as a defendant,” Cannon said in the letter filed as an exhibit with the motion.

"It's terribly unfortunate what happened to (Hernandez) and Briles is incredibly sorry for what she's been through, but he did nothing wrong," Cannon told KWTX Thursday.

"Those that did should make it right," he said.

On April 7, the motion says, Briles met with Baylor staff attorney, Doug Welch, and Lisa Brown, an attorney from Houston who told him that represented him in the Hernandez suit, the motion says.

“Coach Briles provided (the attorneys) with extensive personal information related to this case and other matters during the interview,” the motion says.

But since then the lawyers, among other things, have “used statements, text messages, emails and other personal information obtained for the purpose of this litigation…in support of Baylor University’s termination of Coach Briles," the motion says.

The motion seeks to substitute Cannon and Janet Hansen as Briles’ attorneys and requests a court order requiring Welch and Brown to cease “all use of any information obtained through the representation of (Briles) against him in any termination proceedings, mediations or arbitrations.”

The motion also requests an order that requires Welch and Brown to produce “all statements, text messages, emails, oral or video recordings, interview notes, and any information of any kind obtained in the representation of Art Briles.”

“We want what’s in their files not because they have information that Briles did anything wrong”, Cannon told KWTX Thursday.

“Quite the opposite. We think it will be helpful to Briles as he did nothing wrong," he said.

Because Briles was fired several weeks after the Hernandez suit was filed, the letter included as an exhibit with the motion says “The conclusion is inescapable that the motive of Baylor University and the Board of Regents was to use its Head Football Coach and the Baylor Athletic Department as a camouflage to disguise and distract from its own institutional failure to comply with Title IX and other federal civil rights laws. It is equally clear from the actions of Baylor University and the Board of Regents.”

Baylor did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment about the motion Thursday.

Hernandez was sexually assaulted by Elliott in April 2012.

The suit she filed in March alleges that Baylor failed to act against Elliott despite receiving six complaints from women claiming he assaulted them.

Among Hernandez's allegations are that players were recruited without regard to the harm they might cause others.

Elliott, a former defensive end, was indicted on August 27, 2012 in connection with an incident involving the sexual assault of a woman in the early morning hours of April 15, 2012, during a party at a South Waco apartment complex.

In January 2014, a Waco state district court sentenced Elliott to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each count.

The sentences are running concurrently.

Hernandez was one of five women who reported to police that they were either raped or assaulted by Elliott in incidents from October 2009 to April 2012.

The suit that Hernandez filed in U.S. District Court in Waco seeks damages, punitive damages, costs, interest, statutory and civil penalties, attorney’s fees and cost of litigation.