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Mount Vernon's superintendent said the school did not speak with anyone from the NCAA or any Baylor sexual assault victims.

By Jenna West
May 28, 2019

Four days after Mount Vernon High School announced the hiring of Art Briles as its new football coach, the school is coming under fire for its vetting process of the former Baylor coach.

Superintendent Jason McCullough spoke to the media on Tuesday and told WFAA that the school did not speak to any sexual assault victims at Baylor or any NCAA officials prior to the hire. McCullough also said the only person the school spoke to with connections to the NCAA is former Baylor coach and former American Football Coaches Association executive director Grant Teaff.

"We took a lot of time looking through the reports, interviewing personal acquaintances, as well as previous supervisors that had personal information and contact and knowledge of Coach Briles," he told KCEN. "[Teaff] gave Briles a phenomenal reference, very positive. As we continued to look into it and the things that we saw, we believe that it was a university issue. That doesn't excuse any one person. We believe it was more about a broken system that was in place..."

"We believe that as we've talked to [Briles] and the remorse that he shared with me over what happened and the things that took place, that he's ready to come and make a difference for the kids at Mount Vernon."

Mount Vernon High, located in Mount Vernon, Tex., announced Briles's hiring last Friday. It gave Briles a two-year contract, and his hiring was approved by the school's board of trustees.

Briles most recently coached in Italy for the Estra Guelfi Firenze American Football team. Prior to that, he served as Baylor's head coach for eight years before being fired in 2016 amid controversy over the school’s handling of rape allegations involving football players. The university hired law firm Pepper Hamilton to examine its handling of sexual violence cases, which found a "fundamental failure by Baylor to implement Title IX." A lawsuit filed against Baylor in 2017 alleged 52 rapes by 31 different football players over a four-year period, which exceeded the number previously reported by the school.

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