Jim Grobe defends Baylor, says school doesn't have bad culture

ByMITCH SHERMAN via <a href="http://espn.go.com/" title="ESPN" class="espn_sc_byline">ESPN </a>
July 20, 2016, 1:00 PM

&#151; -- DALLAS -- Baylor coach Jim Grobe stood defiant Tuesday in the face of questions about the culture at his school in the wake of sexual assault allegations that led to the departures of the university president, athletic director and football coach.

"That is not a culture at Baylor University," Grobe said during his news conference at Big 12 media days. "We don't have a culture of bad behavior at Baylor University."

Grobe was hired May 30 amid a turbulent environment as scandal raged on the Waco, Texas, campus. Three Baylor players had been arrested on sexual assault charges under the watch of former coach Art Briles.

"The problems that we're dealing with at Baylor and have dealt with at Baylor, to this point, are problems that are probably at every university in the country," Grobe said Tuesday, echoing comments made Monday by Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "I wouldn't say every one, but I would guess that most universities are having some of the same issues that we've had at Baylor.

"You can make a call as to whether you think Baylor was too strong in the way they dealt with it. Unbelievably, I've had people tell me they don't think they dealt with it strongly enough."

Grobe clarified his comments Wednesday on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike.

"When you start talking about that type of culture, you again throw a blanket over all the guys, and it's been my experience that the guys we've got going forward at Baylor right now are great kids. I'm not going to say we won't have issues going forward. I hope they're not serious issues, but we have a lot of great kids, we have a lot of great students at Baylor," he said.

"Some of them have misbehaved and in some cases it's been serious misconduct but what I wanted people to know is I want people to understand there is no culture in our football program right now and on our football team of misbehavior."

Baylor interim president David Garland, regents chairman Ronald Murff and David Harper, academic and student affairs committee chairman, met with the Big 12 board of directors for more than two hours Tuesday to discuss the school's handling of the sexual assault crisis.

Board chairman and University of Oklahoma president David Boren said the board was satisfied that Baylor would be more transparent with the league in regard to how it is handling the crisis. The Baylor officials also assured the board that the school was committed to being Title IX compliant in the future.

"Questions and answers were received, and I would say we were very pleased," Boren said.

Baylor suspended Briles on May 26 and reached an agreement in June to terminate his contract. Briles' entire staff, including his son, offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, and son-in-law, passing game coordinator Jeff Lebby, was retained by Grobe.

Grobe, 64, a former Wake Forest coach, said he's focused on helping the current players and coaches at Baylor.

"The majority of our kids are great kids -- I mean great kids," Grobe said. "And it's a shame when a few guys can really hurt a large group of people in a devastating way, really. From our standpoint, what I want to do is let people know that our kids are fantastic kids.

"I'm here to help. I'm here for the players first and foremost and secondly to help this coaching staff get back on track."

Grobe said he had no concerns about the conduct of the Baylor assistants who recruited and coached the players at the center of the scandal.

"If our assistant coaches' conduct had been bad," Grobe said, "if anybody told me that, if anybody can come to me to point out that the coaches have not behaved properly, then I would have no problems making changes."

Grobe said he's "probably more excited than any coach in America" to start the 2016 season. He plans minimal changes in football-related areas.

"I'm an old West Virginia hillbilly, and we've got that feeling," he said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it ...

"It's been a journey, to be honest. I think we've gotten to the point now where the players trust in me. I think they understand that I'm here to help. I'm not here to change things."

ESPN's Mark Schlabach contributed to this report.

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