Baylor football responds to allegations of wrongdoing in Ukwuachu case

Former Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu takes the stand during his trial at Waco's 54th State District Court. Ukwuachu was convicted of sexually assaulting a former Baylor soccer player in 2013. Photo credit: Associated Press

Baylor football is coming under fire following allegations it might have accepted defensive end Sam Ukwuachu despite a known history of violence against women. In response, the program released a statement denying the claims and provided the transfer information request form from his transfer in May 2013.

Sam Ukwuachu
Baylor Transfer Information Request


The document, completed by Boise State director of compliance Jenny Bellomy, claims Ukwuachu was not “suspended or disqualified from [Boise State] for disciplinary reasons.” It also said Ukwuachu would have been eligible to return to classes at Boise State had he wished.

In a statement on Friday, Baylor football coach Art Briles claimed he was only notified Ukwuachu was a player who wanted to get closer to home:

“I was contacted by Coach Peterson at Boise State in spring 2013 and he told me he had a player from Texas who needed to get closer to home and he thought our program would be a good spot for him. I know and respect Coach Peterson 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.

“In addition, I talked with Tony Heath, his high school coach, who gave us a great recommendation. As required with any transfer to Baylor, Boise State acknowledged that he was not suspended due to any institutional disciplinary reasons and further that he was eligible for competition if he chose to return to Boise State.”

Following Briles’ statement, Chris Peterson, the former Boise State coach and now coach at Washington, released a statement of his own:

“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.”

Ukwachu was convicted of sexual assault against a Baylor student in Waco’s 54th State District Court on Thursday night. He was subsequently sentenced to a 10 year probated sentence, 180 days in jail and 400 hours of community service.

Witnesses in the trial testified Ukwuachu had an abusive relationship at Boise State that resulted in him being sent to anger management. The relationship reportedly did not result in his being kicked off Boise State’s roster.