Huskies coach Chris Petersen finds himself involved in a controversy regarding Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu, who transferred to Baylor from Boise State two years ago and on Thursday was found guilty in a Texas court of sexually assaulting a Baylor women’s soccer player in a case that dates to 2013.
Ukwuachu was dismissed from the Boise State program by Petersen in May 2013 for an unspecified violation of team rules, and never played a down for Baylor after transferring.
But there’s some dispute over how much Baylor coach Art Briles knew of Ukwuachu’s past, and how much Petersen told him. In the wake of Ukwuachu’s sexual assault conviction, Briles told reporters that he had no knowledge of Ukwuachu’s violent past, and that Petersen hadn’t mentioned it during a conversation before Ukwuachu’s transfer to Baylor.
Petersen released a statement that seemed to contradict Briles’ statement, saying: “After Sam Ukwuachu was dismissed from the Boise State football program and expressed an interest in transferring to Baylor, I initiated a call with coach Art Briles. In that conversation, I thoroughly apprised Coach Briles of the circumstances surrounding Sam’s disciplinary record and dismissal.”
According to this in-depth story about Ukwuachu by Texas Monthly, he was dismissed from Boise State due to “a previous incident of violence involving a female student,” and claimed that Baylor’s coaches “knew everything” about his past. Texas Monthly also reported that the two schools had communicated, and that “Boise State officials expressed reticence about supporting the player’s efforts to get back on the field.”
But Briles responded with another statement later Friday, saying that Petersen didn’t tell him specifically about any instances of Ukwuachu being violent toward women.
Briles’ statement read, in part: "I know and respect Coach Petersen and he would never recommend a student-athlete to Baylor that he didn't believe in. In our discussion, he did not disclose that there had been violence toward women, but he did tell me of a rocky relationship with his girlfriend which contributed to his depression. The only disciplinary action I was aware of were team-related issues, insubordination of coaches and missing practice.”
Baylor also announced that it will conduct an internal inquiry into the school’s investigation of Ukwuachu.