Art Briles claims he did NOT hide knowledge of alleged rapes by Baylor football players while he was the head coach ... and now he's suing 4 Baylor officials claiming they conspired to throw him under the bus.
Briles -- who was fired back in May -- just sued 3 school regents and a vice president for libel and slander.
In his suit, Briles says he was not made aware of the numbers the regents released to the Wall Street Journal ... that 17 women reported domestic violence or sexual assaults involving 19 football players.
Briles claims the school officials intentionally went public with the numbers to expose him to "public hatred, contempt, ridicule and cause him financial injury."
He essentially claims they made him the fall guy ... unfairly.
Briles says the allegations have made him college football poison -- severely hurting his chances to coach again.
"By their actions, [the Baylor officials] are allowing the alleged rapists and assaulters to walk free, thereby confirming that they are more interested in ruining Coach Briles' name, reputation and career than they are bringing criminals to justice."