Statement From Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. On Resignations of Dave Bliss, Tom StantonAug. 8, 2003
Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. held a news conference today (Aug. 8) to announce the resignations of men's basketball coach Dave Bliss and athletic director Tom Stanton.
Near to the heart of Baylor University is a commitment to integrity. It is a commitment that includes compliance with all NCAA rules and regulations, but it goes in fact far beyond that commitment to the NCAA. It is a commitment to ourselves and our Lord as a Christian institution where faith and integrity matter.
Institutions such as Baylor that are committed to higher standards must hold themselves to those higher standards. As president of this university I reiterate that our university is committed to principles of honesty, integrity, openness, and accountability. Today we will put those principles into practice.
As you know, this is a difficult time for Baylor University.
But we have an obligation to pursue an aggressive and thorough investigation into allegations related to our basketball program.
The investigation is not complete. It will take additional time to achieve the level of thoroughness we desire. We will take as long as is necessary to do this correctly and with integrity.
We also want to conduct the investigation in as transparent a way as possible without jeopardizing the investigation. So, as we are able to strike such a balance, and have significant activity to report, we will make information available.
The Investigative Committee and I have determined there have been serious or major violations, as that term is defined by the NCAA by-laws, relating to Financial Aid and Awards and Benefits. We have concluded that two student-athletes received money for payment of tuition to Baylor that came from a third party. The Head Men's Basketball Coach has admitted involvement in these infractions.
Of course, we will be self-reporting these violations in the appropriate manner to the NCAA.
Coach Bliss has tendered his resignation. I have accepted his resignation effective immediately.
Additionally, the initial phase of this investigation has revealed a violation of NCAA rules relating to instances in which staff members have knowledge of a student athlete's use at any time of a substance on the list of banned drugs and fail to follow institutional procedures dealing with drug use. The committee and counsel have found instances in which the University neglected to follow its internal procedures for reporting failures of drug tests.
Again, these will be reported to the NCAA.
Beginning immediately, I am instituting a new procedure for drug testing of student-athletes to preclude any future problems of this kind. I will be taking the athletic department completely out of the drug testing protocol by severing the drug screening from the athletic department and, in addition, simplifying the reporting of results. From this day forward, all drug screening of student-athletes will be performed solely by nurses or doctors at the Baylor Health Center utilizing observed testing procedures. All positive drug test results will be automatically reported directly to Baylor University's Office of Judicial and Legal Student Services for action and notification of appropriate personnel in the athletic department.
Baylor University cares about its integrity. I am placing the men's basketball program on probation effective immediately for a period of not less than two years.
Baylor University cares deeply about its students. So, any member of the basketball team wishing to leave Baylor to seek other opportunities will be allowed to do so. There are many fine young men on the team who have done absolutely nothing wrong. The probation is unfair to those without fault. I apologize for having to take this action. We will treat these young men the way we would want to be treated ourselves. We are proud of them and hope they do remain a part of the Baylor family.
The men's basketball team will not participate in post-season competition during 2003-2004. This includes the Big 12 tournament.
Other program quality issues are being studied. And, the investigation continues.
The sanctions announced today are strong. Even so, they are preliminary in nature. Details of some of the sanctions will be finalized as the investigation continues or is completed. Importantly, additional sanctions may be imposed as the investigation continues.
Today I also with regret accepted the resignation of Athletic Director Tom Stanton. While Tom had no direct knowledge of any of the infractions, he accepts responsibility for maintaining the integrity of Baylor's athletic program. Tom will continue to oversee the athletic department in the interim while the University conducts a national search for a new athletic director and handles other important transition issues. I will have other occasions to express my appreciation for Tom and all that he has done for Baylor athletics.
I will now take a few of your questions.
To view President Sloan's statement live, go to www.baylortv.com.