August 22, 2015

Art Briles, Baylor and Ken Starr

Political liberals remember Kenneth Starr as the seemingly overzealous late 1990s special prosecutor who stumbled on Monica Lewinsky's blue dress, combined with Linda Tripp's salacious brand of "conservativism," eventually introducing us to Bill Clinton's famous "I did not have sex with that woman," then parsing the definition of both "sex" and "is."

The fiasco ended with a failed, politically-driven impeachment of Clinton, the fall of Bob Livingston's bid to replace Newt Gingrich as speaker after his pecadillos were outed by Larry Flynt of Hustler fame, the seeming tawdriness of Starr on full display while he tried to pretend otherwise, and finally, the proving true, to large extend, of Hillary Clinton's claim about "a vast right-wing conspiracy" against her and her husband.

Lewinsky moved to Weight Watchers and other things. Tripp eventually moved to semi-obscurity. Hillary Clinton moved to the Senate, a failed presidential run, and then the State Department.

Starr became dean of Pepperdine's law school, then president of Baylor, which is where we are now.

It's clear that Baylor football coach Art Briles — who has brought the team to national prominence — is likely lying through his teeth about the details of accepting transfer student Sam Ukwuachu from Boise State.

Baylor's PR department, per this piece, has put out some standardized fluff about the situation, but Starr himself has maintained pretty much total radio silence so far. As I see it, this is Starr's one chance to prove that his ethics are actually ethics, and not politically selective ones.

(Update, Aug. 26: That all said, Boise State looks like Idaho raises a good crop of liars along with potatoes, itself.)

It's also a chance for Baylor to prove that it's moved beyond how it handled former basketball coach Dave Bliss.

And for both Starr and Baylor, it's a challenge to prove that they're not driven, at bottom line, by major athletic dollars. To me, this is the main angle. I have little doubt about Briles' ethics by now; let's see Starr's and Baylor's. Or not.

Update, Aug. 25: The Waco Tribune calls for an outside investigation.

And, Chip Brown has questions for Starr, too, noting that Baylor had a similar situation just one year ago.

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