Friday, January 26, 2018

(Very Limited) Open Records Response undermines Khator's credibility re: Kendal "White Women" Briles

"Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
Matthew 7:20

U of H Chancellor/President finally addressed the festering sore in their football program this week (but, of course, she had to do it in the vaguest way possible):
University of Houston President and Chancellor Renu Khator assured faculty on Tuesday that the university conducted additional review "above and beyond" typical hiring practices when it added ex-Baylor University football assistant coaches Kendal Briles and Randy Clements to its football program.

Both Briles and Clements were employed by Baylor during a sexual assault scandal. UH announced the hires earlier this month.

Khator, who wrote to faculty in an email Tuesday, said the university also required coaching staff to receive additional training about the law, UH policies "as well as about our culture of reporting."

Khator did not mention Briles and Clements by name or by their former affiliation with Baylor in the email, but a university spokesman confirmed that the two were the subject of the notice. Khator also said that the "new staff members" had morality clauses in their contracts, which Briles and Clements did.


Baylor never implicated Briles or Clements during its investigation.

Briles, 35, was named in a pending lawsuit - one of several Title IX civil suits filed against Baylor - that alleges he tried to attract recruits by saying female students at Baylor liked the players. "Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at BAYLOR and they LOVE football players," Briles told a Dallas-area recruit, the lawsuit alleged.

Additionally, Baylor suspended Kendal Briles and another assistant after they were found to have committed recruiting infractions for having impermissible contact with a prospect in 2015.
Well, it just so happens that this author put in an open records request to U of H related to the Kendal Briles/Randy Clements hires a couple of weeks which they, kinda sorta, replied late yesterday afternoon (aka. Business day #10, for all you Texas Public Information Act nerds).

It's important to state up front: We received a very limited amount of information from U of H.  But, of course, the limited amount of information they're releasing to anyone is a BIG part of the problem.  But even the small amount we did learn doesn't give us confidence in anything Renu Khator is claiming.

The most important takeaway is that U of H conducted most of its investigation over the telephone.  This is important because having conversations over the telephone instead of in writing is a common technique governmental entities use to evade the Public Information Act when they're up to no good.  But, apparently, Associate Athletic Director for Compliance, Academics, and Financial Aid Lauren DuBois held several telephone conversations to vet the Briles/Clements hires.  The content of those conversations is anyone's guess.

But even for the limited written records that do exist, U of H is hiding behind Attorney/Client privilege for an untold number.  This is another dodge that governmental entities pull all the time.  We can't say anything with certainty, but it seems incredibly likely that all correspondence with the Title IX office would fall under this category.

But even the very limited written records they did release raise major red flags.

Baylor raised the alarm about Kendal Briles:

[Note: We're having formatting issues with Scribd, so screenshots of the relevant documents will have to do.]

U of H sent several text messages from Major Applewhite.  Applewhite's primary concern was to not get Briles in trouble with his previous employer before the deal was finalized.  He was also concerned with "chatter" surrounding the Briles hire and reminded athletic department personnel to not speak to the press.  Also, apparently Major is still in touch with Art Briles:

Finally, we'll highlight this gem from U of H's press release announcing the hire:
Named the Big 12 Recruiter of the Year by Scout in 2013 and 2014.
Really?!? The guy in question got in trouble for sending text messages to recruits implying that they'd be able to commit racially charged sexual assaults, and y'all praise his recruiting ability during the period in question?!?  Might want to rethink....

Bottom Line: We now know that Baylor raised concerns to U of H and that Major Applewhite primary concern was to minimize "chatter."  That certainly seems to contradict the University president's claim to have committed "due diligence."  Even in a best-case scenario, the optics surrounding this stink.

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