Baylor's Art Briles says he didn't know of Sam Ukwuachu's violent past

A day after Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexual assault, Bears head coach Art Briles addressed reporters Friday morning.

Ukwuachu was found guilty on one count of sexual assault for raping a former Baylor soccer player on Oct. 19, 2013. Ukwuachu transferred to Baylor in 2013 after being dismissed from Boise State for an unspecified violation of team rules. There were reports of anger issues and an allegation that Ukwuachu abused his girlfriend. His former girlfriend an ex-BSU athlete, testified in the trial and said that Ukwuachu punched her several times.

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Briles said he was unaware of Ukwuachu’s reported history of violence at Boise State and spoke to former BSU head coach Chris Petersen personally.

(Here is the full audio of Briles speaking with reporters Friday morning, via ESPN Central Texas)

After Boise parted ways with Ukwuachu and he landed at Baylor in May 2013, the Bears reached out to Boise in attempt to help Ukwuachu gain immediate eligibility, but Boise declined.

Ukwuachu, a freshman All-American at Boise in 2013, never played a down of football for the Bears, but the school and football program have been criticized for allowing him to join the program and for its investigation into the sexual assault.

Baylor’s investigation of the woman’s complaint cleared Ukwuachu of wrongdoing and the judge in the case found it to be so lackluster that he prevented the defense from referencing it in trial whatsoever.

The football program held Ukwuachu out of action for the 2014 season for what it called a “violation of team rules.” Even with the sexual assault trial looming, Ukwuachu participated in conditioning activities and defensive coordinator Phil Bennett said in an interview that he expected Ukwuachu to play in 2015.

With all of that said, Briles defended the program’s handling of the entire situation.

The sentencing portion of the 22-year-old Ukwuachu’s trial continues on Friday. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!