Baylor’s Sam Ukwuachu Scandal Demands Deep Reflection
“At Baylor, “Love thy neighbor” are not just words… they are a way of life.”
Excerpt from Baylor University’s Values & Vision Statement
“Don’t blame the messenger because the message is unpleasant,”
Baylor University President Ken Starr
A Texas jury in Waco recently found Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu guilty on two counts of sexual assault against a female Baylor student athlete. The judge, disregarding the jury’s recommendation of 8 years’ probation, sentenced the Pearland, Texas native to ten years of felony probation, along with 180 days in county jail and 400 hours of community service.
Ukwuachu transferred to Baylor in May 2013 after Boise State removed him from its football team for an incident of violence involving a female student. Then Boise State coach Chris Petersen stated he informed Baylor coach Art Briles of the particulars of Ukwuachu removal in advance of the transfer though Briles denies any knowledge. Per NCAA rules, the highly regarded recruit sat out for 2013 season. On June 25, 2014, the McLennan County DA indicted Ukwuachu for an October 19, 2013 sexual assault, forcing him to miss the 2014 season as well. The indictment, though a matter of public record, was never mentioned by Baylor officials, or the media, as the reason preventing Ukwuachu from reaching the field as he remained a scholarship player in good standing on the Baylor roster. Even as late as this past June and despite awareness that the lineman was facing up to 20 years imprisonment, Baylor’s Defensive Coordinator Phil Bennett fired up the Bear’s fan base by proclaiming Ukwuachu’s presence as expected on the field this fall.
The Baylor football program, including Head Coach Art Briles, ceased to offer media availability and may continue to avoid such interaction until the first game of the season. University President Ken Starr has ordered an outside, special investigation to replace the previous review that found no evidence of a crime but has been found to severely lack credibility.
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