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Former BU athlete sues Bliss, school

Jan. 23, 2004

By Sandi Villarreal, reporter

A lawsuit concerning former Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss was filed against both Bliss and Baylor Jan. 5 in McLennan County.

Chad Elsey, a former Baylor basketball player, claims Bliss promised him admission and full tuition for law school and for any other degree he wished to pursue, so long as he transferred to Baylor from Southern Methodist University for the 1999-2000 school year.

The lawsuit claims when Elsey questioned Bliss about possible NCAA regulations that would prohibit this type of contract, Bliss replied that there were ways around NCAA rules and that gaining admittance to law school would be 'no problem.'

'To our knowledge, we have not been served with a petition,' Noley Bice, Baylor's general counsel, said. 'We have a copy of the document, which is merely his [Elsey's] allegations.'

According to the District Clerk Joe Johnson's office, the suit has been filed, but no citations have been issued.

Elsey is seeking damages exceeding $100,000 as well as the cost of tuition, books and other supplies for law school, the expense to move to another city and begin school and monies borrowed for living expenses which would not have been incurred had the promise been fulfilled, according to the lawsuit.

'Plaintiff had several other opportunities to earn a scholarship at several additional schools during this time,' the petition read. 'But [the plaintiff] chose the University of Baylor because of the opportunity to receive a scholarship law degree.'

Elsey, who now attends law school at the University of Tulsa, is representing himself in the matter. He claims both his parents and his then fianc+e were witnesses to the statement made by Bliss.

Elsey claims the offer was made on or about Nov. 11, 2000; however, according to Baylor's media guide, Elsey was already committed to Baylor at that time and was sitting out his first season in compliance with NCAA rules for transfer students. He played two seasons for Baylor and graduated in December 2001.

Bice questioned the validity of Elsey's argument. It's suspect that even though Elsey has been attending law school at Tulsa, these allegations are just now being brought forth, Bice said. He said it also was suspicious that Elsey attended law school elsewhere if he had been promised a full-tuition scholarship at Baylor.

Elsey could not be reached for comment.

This is the second lawsuit concerning Bliss and the Baylor basketball program,the first being the scandal last summer concerning Patrick Dennehy and Carlton Dotson, who were both former basketball players.

Dennehy's father, Patrick Dennehy Sr., filed a wrongful death suit against Bliss, senior administration members and Baylor in August.