There were two ways this season could have gone for the Baylor Bears football program: 1) play with a massive chip on its shoulder and use their top-end talent to make a run at a Big 12 title. 2) Flounder and get distracted by the off-field stories, collapse, and set the program back at least half a decade.
All the way through mid-October, Baylor fans were confident that #1 was happening. But, over the past two weeks, as the off-field stories have continued to steal the headlines, the #2 option is looking much more likely.
The Bears have lost two straight games, one by just a single point at Texas, but the most recent game was a 40-point blowout at home by an average TCU team. Coincidentally, this all took place the same day the support of Art Briles came out stronger than ever.
— Tony Adame (@t_adame) November 5, 2016
And then there was this.
— Jessica Morrey (@JessicaMorrey) November 5, 2016
The only thing more divided than our nation one day before the most bizarre election of our lifetime, is the Baylor fan base. There is the pro-Briles crowd who firmly believes that their guy was part of a witch hunt involving the Board of Regents and the media. Then, there is the other sector of fans who believe and know Briles is a helluva football coach, but did not do enough in overseeing his program and allowed it to be run like an NFL locker room. Regardless of witch hunts from the media (which I believe there have been and I have been involved with investigative pieces defending people like Sam Ukwuachu), there still were severe mishandlings of serious issues on Baylor’s campus.
So, who’s to blame? Board of Regents? Athletic Department? Art Briles? At this point, to quote one of our current presidential candidates, “What difference does it make?!” (can you hear the nightmarish shrill in my voice as I write this?)
Baylor needs to figure out how they go about moving on as a program and as a University. This issue has divided alumni, faculty, staff and students. It’s put a damper on the morale of the Baylor community.
What needs to happen right away is a cleaning of house. Baylor needs to remove every coach on the staff along with every member of the Board of Regents. The plan to keep the coaching staff on, following Briles’ dismissal, was a good idea in theory. It kept some kind of cohesion with the team and it also, let’s be honest, gave the Bears the best chance to win in 2016. But, as the season has unfolded, this has turned into a mess for the university as coaches have used their forum to support Briles. While I respect their defense of their former leader, posting on twitter the night before game day is not the time to do it.
— Phil Bennett (@CoachBennettBU) November 5, 2016
This may affect the team on the field, but let’s be honest, with games left against Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech, and West Virginia, Baylor’s season is over. I would not be shocked at all of they went 1-3 or even 0-4 over these final four games. Mentally and emotionally this team is drained.
But, let’s be clear: The Board of Regents at Baylor is filled with trash and scum. There are several self righteous people on the Board who need to be shown the door ASAP. The sooner this happens the better off the university is.
At this point, Baylor’s focus has to be on the future of the university community as a whole. The football program will come back in time. As long as there are big-money donors willing to help fund facilities and the school is willing to pay big bucks for a top-line coach, then success can be hand. But, the focus should be uniting Baylor as one again. There are so many good folks associated with Baylor, from alumni to faculty and staff. Unfortunately, that’s being lost in all of this. It’s time to turn that around and start from scratch.
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