The Baylor University Board of Regents released a "Findings of Fact" on May 26, 2016, nine months after the university hired the law firm Pepper Hamilton "to conduct an independent and external review of Baylor University’s institutional response to Title IX and related compliance issues through the lens of specific cases."
Those specific cases included a previously reported — though widely misunderstood or downplayed — an extensive sexual assault scandal in the Baylor football program. There were musings of then-head coach Art Briles' potential involvement in one of the most staggering cover-ups in American sports history but it wasn't until the school announced, in concert with the "Findings of Fact," Briles was suspended with the intention to terminate as soon as legally possible.
Briles was five months removed from a 10-win season, his third straight and fourth in the last five seasons. In his eight seasons, he built a damaged, downtrodden program into an on-the-field winner and off-the-field loser. He delivered conference titles, playoff flirtations and unprecedented success to an afterthought program that had been crawling around the Big 12's basement since joining the conference in 1996.
Fourteen months later, in late July 2017, days before Ole Miss was scheduled to open fall camp, Rebels' head coach Hugh Freeze resigned amidst an escort-service scandal. In August 2018, Ohio State's Urban Meyer was placed on administrative leave for his role in the Zach Smith domestic violence situation. And 10 days later, Maryland's D.J. Durkin was placed on administrative leave amidst allegations following the death of player Jordan McNair three months earlier. Meyer and Durkin both returned, though Meyer ultimately "retired" and Durkin was fired.
Four shocking coaching stories/changes in three college football offseasons. And that doesn't include Bob Stoops' sudden retirement in June 2017. (For the record, I'll gladly take a shocking, well-deserved retirement story every offseason.)
"Is another bomb gonna drop before this season?" I tweeted on July 1.
No bombs dropped. As I write this 30 hours before Florida and Miami (FL) kick off the 2019 college football season on Saturday, there were zero shocking head-coaching changes during the college football offseason.
Sure, Mark Richt retired, Manny Diaz left Temple after 17 days to replace Richt, and Hugh Freeze replaced a retiring Turner Gill, but all those moves happened before the New Year and none sniffed the shock value of Briles, Meyer, Freeze, and Durkin (and Stoops).
Finally, a college football offseason with a shocking, stomach-turning coaching story. Unfortunately, I'll still be waiting next offseason.