Art Briles' high school team avoids forfeitures after use of ineligible players

Art Briles’ return to Texas high school football got off to a rocky start.

Briles, the former Baylor coach who was fired in the wake of a sexual assault scandal at the university, and the Mount Vernon High School football team was in danger of forfeiting up to five games for using two ineligible players, according to Joe Hoyt of the Dallas Morning News.

The two players, per the report, moved into the Mount Vernon district for athletic purposes. A District Executive Committee unanimously made the decision on Tuesday afternoon that the players were ineligible, overturning a decision last month that upheld their eligibility.

And on Wednesday, after Mount Vernon said it would appeal, the UIL said that Mount Vernon wouldn’t have to forfeit any games though the players are now ineligible.

Here’s what Mount Vernon superintendent Jason McCullough said Tuesday night when the school said it was appealing the decision.

"We are disappointed by and disagree with the sudden reversal of field by the District 7-AAA Executive Committee but respect its decision,” McCullough said in a statement, via the Dallas Morning News. “Facts presented at a previous meeting on this topic resulted in the exoneration of the two students and validation of their athletic eligibility.

"The DEC today voted 6-0 that the two students moved to our school district for athletic purposes as defined by U.I.L. rules, despite what we believe to be overwhelming evidence that the parents moved from Colorado for employment reasons. The DEC also voted 6-0 that Mt. Vernon ISD used a coach not employed by the district in violation of UIL rules. It then voted 6-0 to give Mt. Vernon a public reprimand for allowing a coach on the field who was not employed by the school."

Briles was hired by Mount Vernon — located about 100 miles northeast of Dallas — in May, marking his first job in the United States since he was fired from Baylor in 2016 after the massive sexual assault scandal in Waco. One lawsuit, which has been settled, alleged 52 rapes by at least 31 Baylor football players occured between 2011 and 2014 under Briles’ watch. Briles has said he “did not cover up sexual violence” at the university and denied any wrongdoing. The NCAA is still investigating.

Briles spent two decades coaching high school football in Texas before jumping to the collegiate level. He compiled a 65-37 record while at Baylor.

Mount Vernon, per the Dallas Morning News, has outscored its opponents 233-85 this year. It has only played one District game, meaning it could have still made the playoffs if it had to forfeit games.