Briles said Friday morning that he was unaware of Ukwuachu’s history of violence at Boise State when he allowed the former freshman All-American to transfer into his program following his dismissal from BSU. When Briles spoke to Petersen concerning Ukwuachu back in 2013, he said Petersen did not mention anything “beyond Sam being depressed” and “needing to come home.”
Petersen, now the head coach at Washington, offered a different account, saying in a statement Friday afternoon that he “thoroughly apprised Coach Briles of the circumstances surrounding Sam’s disciplinary record and dismissal.”
Briles offered his own retort Friday night about the conditions of Ukwuachu’s transfer. Here it is, in full:
“I was contacted by Coach Petersen at Boise State in spring 2013 and he told me he had a player from Texas who needed to get closer to home and that he thought our program would be a good spot for him. 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.
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.”
When Baylor released Briles’ statement to the media, a compliance form from Ukwuachu’s transfer was also included.
As noted in items No. 14 and 17 on the form, Ukwuachu was not “suspended or disqualified from (the) institution for disciplinary reasons” and would have been eligible to return to Boise State.
On the other hand, the form offers no insight into Ukwuachu’s dismissal from Boise State's football team. It also doesn’t help us learn whether or not Briles knew about the defensive end’s alleged incidents of violence with his then-girlfriend at Boise, who testified in court that Ukwuachu punched her in the head and choked her, when he allowed Ukwuachu to join the program.
The sexual assault involving Ukwuachu occurred in October 2013, roughly five months after he left Boise State for Baylor.
Ukwuachu never played a down for Baylor. He was held out of action in 2013 due to transfer rules and did not play in 2014 due to a “violation of team rules.”
Briles has defended the program’s handling of the situation as the university has been criticized for its investigation. After Ukwuachu’s sentencing was handed down, the school released a statement saying it would conduct a “comprehensive internal inquiry into the circumstances associated with this case and the conduct of the offices involved.”
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