Baylor's Matt Rhule points to clear expectations, code of conduct

WACO, Texas -- Baylor coach Matt Rhule said Thursday he was disappointed by the actions of two recently fired staff members and is committed to upholding high standards of conduct for his program's coaches, staffers and players.

DeMarkco Butler, Baylor's assistant director of football operations, was dismissed after allegations emerged that he sent inappropriate text messages to a teenager, KWTX-TV in Waco reported Monday. His firing came one month after assistant strength coach Brandon Washington was fired after being arrested in a Waco prostitution sting.

"I can't really comment on the specifics because they were personnel matters," Rhule said. "But what I will say is, I feel like we've established clear expectations and a code of conduct for every person -- for myself, for coaches, for the staff, for the players. I think hopefully everyone knows in our program that if you fail to meet those expectations, you're going to be held accountable."

Both staffers had been hired by Rhule, Baylor's first-year coach who was hired in December. Rhule said he feels good about the way he's handled vetting candidates for his staff and believes the school responded correctly when it learned of the two incidents.

"Personally, I'm disappointed that all these wonderful coaches and staff who are doing things the right way, that this has kind of overshadowed what they're doing, that it reflected poorly on the men that work for us," Rhule said. "But at the end of the day, we all know there's a standard we're setting and if you don't meet that standard, action will be taken."

According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, Butler sent inappropriate text messages to an individual who is 18 years old, which makes them a legal adult under Texas law. He had been hired by the program on Feb. 15.

Washington, who had worked with Rhule for the last three years at Temple, was charged with a Class B misdemeanor for soliciting a prostitute. He had passed a criminal background check prior to being hired.

Rhule said he worked hard to look into the backgrounds of candidates while putting his staff together, but acknowledged it's difficult to know how they conduct themselves in their personal lives.

"What I do know is this: I don't really know what anybody does with their personal life," Rhule said. "I don't know if any of us know, with the people we work with, what they really do in their personal life. I know what people do professionally. So when I call and I get references, you're really kind of hearing about what they do professionally. When something comes up personally, if it's not up to our standard, we take corrective action."

Rhule was hired in December to reform a football program in the midst of the university's ongoing sexual assault scandal that resulted in the firing of former coach Art Briles and the departures of athletic director Ian McCaw and president Ken Starr.

The university is facing several federal lawsuits following an investigation that revealed Baylor failed to properly respond to and address allegations of sexual assault committed by students, including football players.

Baylor begins its spring practice under Rhule on Saturday. Rhule said senior defensive back Travon Blanchard remains indefinitely suspended from all team activities after a woman who accused him of multiple acts of violence against her requested a restraining order from a judge last month.

"He's not participating in winter or spring until the conclusion of the ongoing investigation that's happening for him," Rhule said. "Until that's resolved, he'll remain suspended."