June 3, 2016
Baylor Bears interim head football coach Jim Grobe addressed reporters Friday for the first time since he assumed the post in place of Art Briles, and he expressed a desire to reform the program’s culture in the weeks and months ahead.
For starters, according to the Tribune-Herald‘s Brice Cherry, Grobe said there will be a zero-tolerance policy for misbehavior in light of an investigation led by Pepper Hamilton, LLP that said the school failed “to identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player and to a report of dating violence.”
“Winning is very, very important, but not at the expense of character and integrity,” Grobe added, according to BaylorProud on Twitter.
“Playing is not a right,” he said, according to Cherry. “Going on the field is not a right. If you’re not going to be a good citizen, you’re not going to play for [Baylor University].”
Grobe reiterated that the thing he was most concerned with after reading the Pepper Hamilton report was the “lack of organization in dealing with problems,” according to the Austin American-Statesman‘s Suzanne Halliburton.
That issue was spelled out clearly in Pepper Hamilton’s findings, which stated “the football program and Athletics department leadership failed to take appropriate action in response” to “reports of a sexual assault involving multiple football players.”
With regard to personnel matters, Grobe confirmed all of Briles’ assistants will stay on, per Halliburton. Grobe also confirmed the team will continue to run the same offensive and defensive schemes in 2016.
On the recruiting front, Baylor’s new boss said the program won’t yet release commits from their national letters of intent, according to Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman:
On Wednesday, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Crabtree reported seven of Baylor’s 2016 recruits had filed for release from their national letters of intent.
However, the school isn’t obligated to let them seek out other collegiate opportunities since formally signing a letter of intent bounds a player to the program “unless he doesn’t meet admissions or eligibility requirements, he doesn’t attend any institution for at least one academic year, the school has been charged with breaking NCAA recruiting rules, or he is released by the university.”
According to Crabtree, Baylor has 30 days to respond to the release requests.
Finally, Grobe—whose contract spans only the 2016 season, per Halliburton—expressed a desire to continue coaching in Waco if the team prospers under his guidance.
“If things go well, I like Baylor,” he said, according to Cherry. “I could see myself being here for a while. … I would be blessed to have the opportunity to coach.”
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