A Baylor Bear’s Plea to the Board of Regents

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A Baylor Bears Call to the Board of Regents // www.thehisfor.com

Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
    who lives trustfully near you.
Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
    when they have done you no harm.”

-Proverbs 3:29-30

My grandmother and grandfather on my mother’s side met at Baylor University just after the tornado tore the city of Waco apart. They would go to the drive-in movie that is now the flea market and eat at Health Camp together. My father, the son of a Baptist preacher, decided to go to Baylor because he was a recipient of a scholarship given to PK’s… all of his siblings followed in his footsteps. As a child, I went to Baylor games, alumni meetings, homecoming parades, ceremonies that dedicated a room in the stadium to my late older brother. I had stuffed bears that sang “That Good ‘ol Baylor Line” and I would don my cheerleading uniform to the games. When I became a senior in high school, it was the only school I applied to. As an educator, I encouraged my seniors to apply to Baylor, too. I led tours down to Waco and gave out no homework on Monday if the Bears had won on Saturday. Baylor isn’t just my alma mater, it’s my life story.

On May 26th, I was giving a final exam to my students when I got the text message that Art Briles had been removed from his position as Head Coach. I was devastated for my school. I was devastated for him. I was devastated for those girls. I was devastated for the world around me in which sexualization has turned into a culture where rape is now the norm.  I cried that day. I’ll never forget it. I remember thinking back on knowing Art Briles in disbelief that a man so kind and good could allow such terrible things to happen. I had no idea at the time that I had been blinded by sensationalism and the effect of a culture where everyone comes to their own opinion and is quick to accuse behind a computer keyboard.

For the next few months, my family sat in limbo while we tried to figure out what the truth was and what exactly had happened. No one was forthcoming and the honesty of the whole situation is something I questioned because the facts were kept hidden away. The first game of the season was just… icky. That’s all I can say. The overall feeling in the stands was excitement tainted by a sickening feeling about all that had transpired.

Yesterday, an investigative report was aired that proved my original hunch was correct. Baylor University, my alma mater, let those girls down. Baylor University mishandled situation after situation and propelled forward a culture that is not only Non-Christian, it’s harmful. Baylor University needed to prove that they were handling the situation in a big way. Baylor University fired a man who actually could be innocent, ruining his reputation on an international scale. Baylor University let so many people down. Men and women representing my alma mater, crippled by the pressures of the media, could have, knowingly, used a good man as a scapegoat to turn national attention away from the issues at hand. If this is true, this is heart wrenching.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with humility comes wisdom.”

-Proverbs 11:2

As a freshman at Baylor, I remember being thrilled to attend a school where I could worship freely with others who love the LORD. I also remember learning that hard lesson that just because someone is a Christian doesn’t mean they’ll act accordingly. I also learned the hard lesson that that Christian is often times me; that I may not always act the way I should as a believer, but it’s God’s grace and mercy through His son, Jesus Christ, that drives our faith forward. Pride comes before a fall, but it’s the grace of God that makes everything whole again. You CAN find reconciliation in all circumstances. No matter how big the problem is, God is bigger. Love is bigger.

Hatred stirs up conflict,
    but love covers over all wrongs.” 

-Proverbs 10:12

That is why I’m calling for my university to step up.

I’m calling the Baylor Board of Regents to speak up. Share the truth. In humility, apologize to those girls. Apologize to Art Briles. Apologize to Baylor Nation. Isn’t that what Christian’s do? Don’t they recognize the hurt they’ve caused? Don’t they turn to God for forgiveness and do what they can to make it right? If Art Briles is innocent, apologize. Share the truth with the world. Own up to your mistakes and make them right. You have a chance, on an international, public platform, to show the world what TRUE Christianity looks like. What humility looks like. What Jesus looks like.

I’m calling out Art Briles and the Briles family. If the Board can own their mistakes and apologize, please forgive them. Recognize that we’re all only human and that LOVE and FORGIVENESS and GOD is bigger. You have a chance, on an international, public platform, to show the world what TRUE Christianity looks like. What forgiveness looks like. What Jesus looks like.

I’m calling out to Baylor Nation. SPREAD LOVE. These findings have made us all angry and sad. Let’s remember that there are victims in these horrible acts and let’s not make it all about football. Instead, let’s stand for what is right. Hatred is not right. Rape is not right. Pushing the blame on an innocent to hide your guilt is not right. Pride is not right. Lying is not right. Calling for the entire board to be fired is not right. Forgiveness is. Love is. Grace is. As a family, let’s rise up and stand for what is good and just. Let’s do it in love. You have a chance, on an international, public platform, to show the world what TRUE Christianity looks like. What grace and love and kindness looks like. What Jesus looks like.

What if it all could be reconciled? What if pride was removed, innocence was proven, reconciliation was attained, victims were helped and love was shown in the public, international, media-consumed spotlight? To my alma mater’s leaders… YOU have the chance to be the hands and feet. Will you do it? Pride comes before a fall… this is your chance to give it to God and watch Him work. It’s never what is easy, but it’s ALWAYS what is best.

We all have the chance to show the world what Christianity really is. We could be the picture of love and grace that Jesus calls us to be. Isn’t that what Baylor University was made to do? Let’s do it.

This Saturday, I will have P330 [Proverbs 3:30] written on my left hand at the Baylor game. I’ll have CAB written on my right. Feel free to join me.

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38 Comments
  • Paula Parish

    Posted at 18:52h, 08 September

    As a loyal Baylor Fan I want RECONCILIATION. I want the BOR to apologize for the mistake made firing COACH ART BRILES. We need Art. Baylor Nation needs Art. He is an honorable man and has been unjustly treated. Being a Christian School I would hope we would demonstrate to the world about mistakes and asking for forgiveness. Surely Baylor you can do this….

    • Janys Stubbs

      Posted at 17:03h, 09 September

      I never believed he was guilty. While he was with Baylor, there was joy, even if we lost. Now there isn’t joy. It’s grief, anger (at BOR), and loss of interest. I could sense it, even though I watched the game on TV.
      They should plead that he forgive and return. And they should also do so to Dr. Starr.
      Until then, there’ll be a pall over Baylor and Waco.

    • Janys Stubbs

      Posted at 17:46h, 09 September

      By the way, I’m a professional sculptor, and I was so inspired by the spirit that Art brought to the Bears, that I created a sculpture that I believed expressed the new bear power. I met him by chance, and told him about it. He asked that I bring it to his office. I did, and they were so excited about it, because they’d been looking for one. But when he was fired, they were so upset, and said that when/if things were ok, someday, they want to talk about doing the bear. I hope I’ll have the heart for it, someday.

  • Lynn Franklin

    Posted at 19:15h, 08 September

    Please do the right thing and fix your mess! Bring Briles back! He did not do anything that would warrant firing him with no cause.

  • Christi Lee

    Posted at 19:59h, 08 September

    Tears, Chandler! EVERY WORD OF THIS! Thank you for sharing so eloquently’

  • Jennifer

    Posted at 20:49h, 08 September

    Thank you for putting into words what is in my heart.

  • Casey

    Posted at 20:51h, 08 September

    I am joining you! P330 & CAB!!

  • Amy

    Posted at 21:22h, 08 September

    You are right on and you said what is on the hearts of a nation….Baylor Nation! Thank you! Sic ’em!

  • Dennis Kelley

    Posted at 21:25h, 08 September

    These are the exact sentiments that I have had after the latest reports. Baylor Regents, you need to OWN the situation YOU created when you fell prey to bad press and media sensationalism. You have the opportunity to set the record straight and right the wrongs perpetrated against the victims, Art Briles, and our university. Please do so.

  • Amy

    Posted at 21:36h, 08 September

    Very eloquent and I completely agree. Unfortunately, we exist in an evil world that seeks to destroy. The BOR will never own up to their mistakes because doing so could make BU vulnerable to litigation that could bring it to its knees. So ruining Art Briles’reputation is the “safe” way out. Its disgusting. And so sad.

    • Janys Stubbs

      Posted at 17:53h, 09 September

      Personally, I think the careless individuals that comprise the BOR, should have to be publicly named and called to account for their careless and selfish actions, that have caused so much pain. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the contributors to Baylor sports would cut back.

  • Sumitra

    Posted at 21:45h, 08 September

    Go bears! Glad you have shared this.

  • Brenda

    Posted at 21:53h, 08 September

    You expressed this all beautifully. I will join you this Saturday! P3:30 & CAB. I continue to pray that Baylor will ask CAB to come back – and that with a heart of forgiveness he will say yes. “With God, all things are possible.” Matt 19:6

  • Suanne Strickland Barrett

    Posted at 22:03h, 08 September

    As a 5th generation Baylor Family, I love this letter, yet for all the passion poured into it.

    It is excellently written & echos the feelings & beliefs of many of us that bleed green & gold. It is very sad to me that Baylor used these two icons that have done so much for the school to take the fall.

    Truth always comes out in the end & it only gets worse the longer it goes on.

    Still love my Bears & am sad for all those truly good students & athletes having to walk in this shadow

  • kellye

    Posted at 22:19h, 08 September

    Thank you. You are voicing what so many of us feel. Thank you for your grace and courage.

  • Bill Savell, Sr.

    Posted at 22:20h, 08 September

    I don’t think the BOR will admit their mistake. I doubt Coach Briles would return for double his former salary, but offering it to him would be a good start toward righting their wrong. I,too, am a Baylor graduate,& have a son & 2 grandchildren that graduated from Baylor. I have always loved my school and have been proud it until this debacle. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think the BOR has guts enough to do the right thing.

  • Donna Erwin

    Posted at 22:41h, 08 September

    Beautifully stated, and I totally agree with you!

  • Sandra Lumpkin

    Posted at 22:53h, 08 September

    Very well said. I think all of Baylor Nation feels the same prayers for the victims and for the reagents to do the right thing.

  • Jaimie Moerbe

    Posted at 22:56h, 08 September

    My heart breaks for the victims, our Baylor Nation, and Art Briles. The way Baylor has handled everything from start to finish has been disheartening. Thank you for putting into words the thoughts and feelings of so many fellow Baylor Bears.

  • Roger

    Posted at 23:51h, 08 September

    This is not a disney movie. The most important people in this sadness are the victims. Art is not a victim. The bor are not victims. Starr and ian were not victims. The true Xn thing is apologize to the victims, pay them off and beg for forgiveness. Show to world that the ‘good ole boy macho bs’ athletics is OVER AND GONE. Parade that in front of the media. The ONLY victims were the,woman who were abused by thugs.

    Starr and ian were responsible and culpable. And as a proceutor who had a obsession about ‘sex crimes’ years ago…this is full of stupid blindness. They earned the fall. So be it. Art is not the messiah. It is naive to bekieve he’s innocent. What appears to have been shown is that he,was not involved in a conspiracy or in hiding the crimes. And they were crimes. If it happened once it is many timesbut over the course of years…you have no backup.

    Would i like him to come back….maybe. but like king david that willnot happen without confezsion and repentance.

  • Edd Burleson

    Posted at 23:59h, 08 September

    I would like to share a text message I recently received from a former player from my days of coaching high school football. Randy Howard played Quarterback for the Dawson Bulldogs(’58,”59,”60) and was the starting Quarterback for TCU(’63-’64). Following a tour of duty in Vietnam(helicopter pilot), Randy has enjoyed a successful career as an Attorney in Houston. His text is copied below.
    Edd Burleson
    Baylor University
    BS in Physical Education ’57
    MS in Education ’68

    Coach, I know you are so disturbed over events at BU. I feel for you and BU alumni such as Don Sykes and my very good friend Mark Woolfolk who I hired out of BU law school many years ago. He was raised in Manhattan and was a walk on kicker under Coach Teaff. Great attorney and family man. We lunched today as I handed off some legal business to him. I hurt for him and his oh-so dedicated Bear son,Michael.
    Those innocents, the players, the coaches, students, former players, alumni, fans and admin who had nothing to do with the malfeasance, are suffering and embarrassed. It is for those innocents that we hope BU comes out of this debacle still advancing their dreams and lives, with BU going strong in the Big 12 as well. Conference needs that to happen, too.
    You have probably prayed your heart out for those innocents. This will be a tough stretch in reputation and emotions for the innocents at BU until the usual span of time to allow the process to unfold the truth……not so much on the field of play as I believe BU has plenty of talent to more than hold its own in conference play.
    Just wanted you to remember that regardless of our respective fan affiliation we are praying for all the innocents at BU, formost you and your family.

  • Nina

    Posted at 00:42h, 09 September

    Well said! Art Briles was used as a scapegoat and I feel bad for such a wonderful man and for our football team. Because of one or two “rotten apples” the rest suffered!

  • Lisa Gunther

    Posted at 07:33h, 09 September

    I will stand with you! I will wear P3:30 & CAB, I’m not an alum, I’m the mom of a future TSU20 graduate, but you Mrs. H have the best heart, encouraged so many of “our” kids and I believe in your cause. YOU have taken a chance on Baylor, on an international, public platform, to show the world what TRUE Christianity looks like. What humility, forgiveness, grace, love and kindness look like. What Jesus looks like. Love you!

    • chandler.hatchett@gmail.com

      Posted at 07:44h, 09 September

      Mrs. Gunther, You have made my whole day! I love your girls so much! Thank you thank you thank you!!! xoxoxo

  • Paul

    Posted at 07:45h, 09 September

    Beautifully written. I’m on the verge of tears….

  • Teta Johnson

    Posted at 07:53h, 09 September

    Your article was shared by our Granddaughter, who is a junior at Baylor. We were excited for her and her choice of attending Baylor. She would be wrapped in the loving arms of a christian environment. SAFE. And then, oh my. It rocked our world. We traveled from Virginia to attend last year’s homecoming events. We felt the full impact of Baylor Nation! I applaud the wisdom of your words, your choice of scripture, your plea to all concerned. Thank you for penning your heartfelt thoughts and concerns. I pray every word of this article is felt with full impact by each member of the board. I know God is listening for their answers.

  • BOB W.

    Posted at 08:57h, 09 September

    Please B.O.R. Quit acting like Pharisees and behave as children of the most high. This will haunt you the rest of your lives if you don’t own up to your transgressions.

  • Shawna Henry

    Posted at 09:48h, 09 September

    Thank you thank you. I am from Stephenville Texas and watched as Briles gave young men AND women the confidence and drive they needed to be amazing young people. He was a beacon of hope and inspiration after all he had overcome, and gave the kids who didn’t think they could succeed the role model they needed. This man has daughters that he adores and would protect with his life. These allegations are so hurtful not at a career level, but at the core of who this man was to all of us as children raised under his watch. He would never knowingly allow a person to be harmed. Period.

    • Sherry Taylor
      Posted at 20:39h, 09 September

      My son played for Art Briles in Stephenville, too. Stephenville is a very small town and everyone knew Coach Briles and his family. Knew this was not true from the beginning. It’s pathetic what the BOR did and a lesson for us all to learn, which is DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR ON THE “NEWS”

  • Paula Michelle

    Posted at 11:31h, 09 September

    Thank you everyone. . I feel the same way! Briles should be brought back . . .
    As always a very huge fan of Baylor and big supporter I do believe a mistake was made . .

  • Bradley J. Sharp

    Posted at 13:30h, 09 September

    I agree, the BOR should produce the entire findings of the Pepper Hamilton report. There should be transparency of what they know. If I am going to send my daughter to Baylor, I will need to know what the University knew and what was done about it.

    Releasing an entire written report, with names redacted, is the only way to clear CAB. What is the BOR hiding?

    In addition it will clear the name of the Baylor Degree, the real reason for going to Baylor.

    • chandler.hatchett@gmail.com

      Posted at 14:58h, 09 September

      I see you @jdsharp on shaggytexas:

      I tried to slide one in that could be mistakenly allowed:

      “I agree, the BOR should produce the entire findings of the Pepper Hamilton report. There should be transparency of what they know. If I am going to send my daughter to Baylor, I will need to know what the University knew and what was done about it.

      Releasing an entire written report, with names redacted, is the only way to clear CAB. What is the BOR hiding?

      In addition it will clear the name of the Baylor Degree, the real reason for going to Baylor.”

      And I STILL let your comment through.

  • Dan Bynum

    Posted at 13:48h, 09 September

    Unsurprising that a baptist institution and its alumni are self righteously willfully ignorant of their and their coach’s complicity in enabling rapists to continue to prey on co-eds. Baylor is now synonymous with rape enabling. Congratulations on your notoriety.

    • LSJ

      Posted at 20:01h, 09 September

      Go troll somewhere else, Dan Bynum. Baylor doesn’t need your ignorance.

  • Pete Howell

    Posted at 19:30h, 09 September

    “Capitalism in the USA” now is being used in our universities for BIG BUCKS $$$$$. These executives only use students for football income and use religion as a “FRONT ” so they look really good in the community and their HUGE SALARIES wont be noticed!

  • Ila Simmons

    Posted at 20:23h, 09 September

    Chandler, this is completely spot on! I see so many people sharing it on FB

  • Rebecca Reynolds

    Posted at 15:36h, 11 September

    Please run this in the Waco Tribune under “Letters to the Editor”. It need to be seen by the BOR and the citizens of Waco.

  • Mary

    Posted at 15:46h, 11 September

    Thank you Chandler for saying what a lot of us are saying. I am a faculty member at Baylor. As an insider in this organization, I can tell you I know no more than you do, and we are all wondering what really happened related not just with the sexual assaults with athletics, but all the sexual assaults that have occurred in the past three to four years. In my opinion, there is an issue with leadership at Baylor, specifically the leadership of the Board of Regents, who seem to be doing a good job covering up, rather than being transparent, humble, and seeking forgiveness. Baylor Nation will prevail, because I can tell you with no uncertainty, that Baylor’s strength is in its students and alumni. Second to that are a wonderful rich and challenging faculty. The leadership? Hmmm…..that needs work, and lots of prayer.