Baylor announces findings from hoops inquiry

Posted: Friday, February 27, 2004

WACO, Texas (AP) Former Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss made improper payments to students, including a player who was killed last summer, the school president said Thursday.

Citing a report by a school-appointed committee, president Robert Sloan accused Bliss of allowing major NCAA infractions during his four-year stay.

The report on the basketball program was ordered after Patrick Dennehy was found dead in July and another player was charged with his murder. Bliss resigned in August.

The committee found evidence that Bliss paid the tuition for Dennehy and another player during the 2002-03 season and the program did not report some players' failed drug tests, Sloan said.

Sloan said the world's largest Baptist university shared in the responsibility for allowing the program to go unchecked.

''There were red flags that should have been noticed,'' Sloan said.

Sloan said the school will report the committee's findings, along with self-imposed sanctions and corrective measures, to the NCAA early next week.

Baylor lawyers appointed by the school administration have been reviewing evidence of reported NCAA rules violations under Bliss and his staff. The committee will present the full report to regents meeting at the campus this week.

Dennehy was reported missing in June and his body was found a few weeks later. Former teammate Carlton Dotson was charged with his shooting death and is jailed in Waco awaiting trial.

''The university also has determined that the former coach engaged in unethical conduct by making the payments and engaging in an effort to conceal his activity and providing false information to the university's investigators,'' Sloan said. Among other NCAA infractions found, members of Bliss's coaching staff arranged for meals, transportation, lodging and clothing for more than one athlete or prospective athlete, Sloan said.

Coaches also improperly paid tuition and fees to another institution on behalf of a prospective student before the player's enrollment at Baylor, he said.

Bliss violated NCAA rules by soliciting representatives of the school's sports interests to make charitable contributions to an organization that sponsored amateur league basketball teams that included prospective team athletes. The contributions amounted to at least $87,000 and involved at least 17 people, including two regents, Jim Turner and Wes Bailey.

Bliss has moved to Lakewood, Colo., a Denver suburb, where he works at a sporting goods store. He has declined to comment.

Bill Underwood, a member of the investigations committee, said the panel was in contact with Bliss last week, and the coach pointed the panel toward further violations, including improper lodging for players.

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