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Baylor Internal Committee Completes Investigation, Sloan Announces Additional Infractions, Sanctions

February 27, 2004
For official statements from President Robert B. Sloan Jr.'s media conference, click here. To view the conference on BaylorTV, click here.
Stating that the University would take self-regulating corrective actions and sanctions to "ensure that the deplorable conduct that occurred within the men's basketball program is never repeated," Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. announced Thursday other major and secondary NCAA infractions regarding the men's basketball program.
The internal committee completed its seven-month investigation and submitted its report Wednesday afternoon to Sloan, who announced the committee's recommendations at a media conference Thursday morning at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business.
After listing the additional infractions, Sloan said "there were red flags that should have been noticed."
The University has appointed a task force, chaired by Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association and former Baylor head football coach, to consider standards for the recruitment of student-athletes and for the hiring of coaches. Members of the committee will be announced next week and a report is due to Sloan in 90 days.
In announcing the task force, Sloan noted that Baylor has had two significant men's basketball scandals in the past 10 years and both had similarities - the recruitment and enrollment of student-athletes whose backgrounds suggested they were probably not going to meet academic standards at Baylor and should not have been recruited.
"Unless we take some action to address known problems," Sloan said, "the University community will continue being periodically embarrassed by athletic scandals."
"I don't know of any other university with such a task force," said Kirk Watson, Baylor Law School alumnus and outside consultant to the investigative committee. "Hopefully, Baylor can set a standard in this area for other universities."
The committee's report, the result of many 20-hour days and more than 100 interviews, will now be sent to NCAA officials, with whom committee members have communicated regularly throughout the investigation.
The University also imposed what investigative committee member and Baylor Law School professor Bill Underwood described as "very, very severe" but "appropriate" sanctions within the men's basketball program, which include reducing contacts by recruiters and coaches and extending the probationary period through Aug. 8, 2006. Most severe is the loss of nine scholarship players through 2006.
"That's a shattering sanction," Underwood said. "I'd be hard-pressed to find that kind of sanction anywhere else."
The additional infractions involved improper payment of tuition and fees of $336 to McLennan Community College in May 2003 and improper payments to student athletes or prospective student athletes for transportation, meals, lodging and apparel -- an aggregate sum of about $40,000, committee officials said, all made by former coach Dave Bliss from his personal finances.
"In all instances, he (Bliss) tried to conceal that the money was coming from him," Watson said. Bliss, who resigned Aug. 8, just two weeks after the committee began its investigation, used money orders or cashier's checks to disguise the source of the payments, Watson said. Once confronted with the committee's conflicting evidence, Watson said Bliss admitted he had made the payments and provided his personal financial records.
In addition, Bliss violated NCAA rules by soliciting two members of the University's Board of Regents -- Jim Turner and Wes Bailey -- for charitable contributions to a 501(3)(c) organization, the Houston Superstars Foundation, that sponsored Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball teams, which included prospective student-athletes. The contributions amounted to at least $87,000 and involved at least 17 people, Sloan said. AAU is a nonprofit, volunteer sports organization that promotes and develops amateur sports and physical fitness programs for young people, according to its web site.
"Jim Turner and Wes Bailey did nothing wrong," Underwood said. "The violation occurs when a representative of Baylor is involved in soliciting the contribution. I have already personally apologized to them," he said, adding that the information was volunteered to the committee.
Committee members said they were surprised at the scope of the infractions once their work began. "Obviously by the number and severity of the violations that have been found, there was a significant amount of wrongdoing going on," Watson said.
Underwood said that had it not been for the death of junior transfer player Patrick Dennehy last summer, and the subsequent scrutiny of the men's basketball program, the University might not have uncovered the wrongdoings.
"I'm embarrassed because we didn't catch it ourselves. Back in '93-'94, we did catch it," Underwood said, referring to a previous investigation by the committee into academic fraud in the men's basketball program. "If not for the tragic events of last summer, I'm not sure we would have caught it."
Committee members talked with Bliss as recently as last week. Underwood described him as a man who "feels a great deal of remorse for what he's done to his family ... and to the University."
Members of Baylor's investigative committee are Underwood and law professors Mike Rogers and David Guinn. Watson served as outside counsel to the committee.

Major infractions:

• improper educational payments on behalf of two student-athletes made by the former head men's basketball coach, who engaged in an effort to conceal his activity, providing false information to the University's investigators;
• improper payment of meals, transportation, lodging or apparel by members of the men's basketball coaching staff to a student-athlete or prospective student-athlete;
• improper payment of tuition and fees to another institution on behalf of a prospective player;
• solicitation by the former head basketball coach of representatives of the University for contributions to an organization that sponsored AAU basketball teams that included prospective student-athletes;
• failure to report positive drug test results; and
• failure to exercise appropriate institutional control by the head men's basketball coach and the University.

Secondary infractions:

• providing the parent of a prospective student-athlete excess tickets for games;
• presence of coaches while prospective student-athletes played basketball during official visits;
• improperly observing recreational activities during a coach's visit;
• more than one student-athlete being present at meals with prospective student-athletes during official visits;
• providing a student-athlete a short-term loan of $100; and
• providing improper meals, apparel and transportation.

Corrective measures taken by Baylor:

• instituted new drug-testing protocols of student-athletes;
• invited Big 12 Conference to conduct an independent compliance audit of the athletics department in April 2004 and follow-up audits the following two years, which it has agreed to do;
• expanded the compliance staff from two to three full-time employees;
• expand the compliance education program for coaches, all athletics department personnel and all University staff responsible for certification of student-athletes for admission, retention, financial aid or competition. The program also will be offered in Waco, Dallas and Houston for boosters;
• the compliance staff will file with the director of the committee on infractions annual compliance reports by August of 2005 and 2006;
• appointment of a task force to make recommendations for recruiting student-athletes and for hiring coaches;
• the Office of Financial Aid will report immediately to the Faculty Athletics Representative the identity of each student-athlete who is not the recipient of a full grant-in-aid and who is more than 10 days late in settling financial accounts; and
• no further participation in exhibition games against AAU teams.

Self-imposed sanctions:

• a two-year probationary period, now extended through Aug. 8, 2006;
• no postseason play for 2003-04, including no participation in the Big 12 tournament;
• the immediate release of student-athletes in the men's basketball program last August and assisting them in obtaining waivers of NCAA and Big 12 Conference transfer restrictions;
• the forfeit of nine financial aid awards in men's basketball over the next two years;
• reduction of expense-paid recruiting visits in men's basketball by four in 2004-05 and by three the following year;
• reduction in number of off-campus recruiting visits by coaches during summer evaluation periods for the next two years;
• reduction of evaluation days during specified contact periods through April 2006;
• recertification of current athletics policies and practices to conform to all requirements of NCAA legislation; and
• only one exhibition game in 2004-05.

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