Art Briles is denying allegations that he turned a blind eye to alleged incidents of sexual assault while coaching at Baylor in a one-page letter he released Thursday.
On Wednesday, the Texas Rangers opened a preliminary investigation at the behest of Texas legislators into the manner in which Baylor dealt with assault allegations.
“Let me be clear. I did not cover up sexual violence,” Briles wrote in the letter addressed to “Baylor Nation” via KWTX.com. “Anyone well-versed in my work as a coach knows that I strove to promote excellence, but never at the sacrifice or safety for anyone.”
Briles was fired by Baylor after eight seasons on May 26, 2016 at the suggestion of university regents who held him responsible for a lack of accountability for athlete misconduct, including sexual assault allegations.
In October, regents told the Wall Street Journal the allegations of violence included 17 women reporting sexual or domestic assault incidents against 19 football players, including four allegations of gang rape, dating back to 2011.
However, a regent anonymously told KWTX that “The vast majority of those allegations presented did not have facts to support them.”
In January, a victim filed a lawsuit against Baylor claiming to have been gang raped by two football players. The suit alleged that 31 Baylor football players committed at least 52 acts of rape between 2011 and 2014.
Baylor officials have since denied those numbers.
Baylor president Ken Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw also lost their jobs in the wake of the scandal.
Briles had yet to publicly respond to the allegations before Thursday. Briles began the letter by bluntly stating he “did not obstruct justice on or off campus.”
He filed a libel lawsuit against some Baylor regents, but dropped the suit in February.
KWTX reports Briles was paid more than $15 million in exchange for a non-disparagement and confidentiality agreement.
“Despite the insistence of certain people, I can remain silent no longer,” Briles wrote. “There is an onslaught of information coming out in the press that is inaccurate, misleading, and unfair to Baylor, its amazing students, its strong faculty, the administration, and its athletic programs.
“Rumor, innuendo, and out of context messages, emails and comments have no place in a true fact-finding mission. The key to growth for the school begins with full transparency, not selective messaging. To participate, or worse yet, instigate such, is unfair to the victims, the accused, the programs and all of Baylor Nation.
“I hope and pray that at some point, those feeding this disinformation will stop, and full disclosure rather than messaging misdirection will take place. It’s long overdue.”