Petersen, now the head coach at Washington, released a statement Friday conveying his side of the interactions surrounding Ukwuachu's transfer from Boise State to Baylor. Ukwuachu was found guilty Thursday of sexually assaulting a female student and former Baylor soccer player several months after transferring to the school.
The statement came in wake of Briles's public denial that he was ever aware of Ukwuachu's problems while at Boise State, saying “there [was] no truth” to that report.
“After 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,” Petersen said. “In that conversation, I thoroughly apprised Coach Briles of the circumstances surrounding Sam's disciplinary record and dismissal.”
Briles spoke to the media Friday and vehemently denied his knowledge of Ukwuachu's history at Boise State, where he was accused of being abusive toward a former girlfriend. Ukwuachu transferred to Baylor in fall 2013 after being dismissed from Boise State that May due to an unspecified violation of team rules. He told Rivals.com in May 2013 that Baylor coaches “knew everything.”
Ukwuachu was indicted on two felony charges in June 2014, but the allegations were not reported by media until earlier this month. A report from Texas Monthly alleged the case was mishandled by Baylor and local authorities. Both Texas Monthly and a Deadspin report found that Waco police initially refused to elaborate on details from the case. The prosecutor later successfully lobbied a judge to issue a gag order prohibiting Ukwuachu, his attorney and the prosecutor from publicly speaking about the case.
A copy of the incident report obtained by Texas Monthly shows the victim said Ukwuachu took her to his Waco apartment and forced himself on her despite her requests for him to stop. The victim went to the hospital the next day for a rape examination, which revealed injuries consistent with sexual assault.
Ukwuachu sat out the 2013 season after transferring and sat out 2014 because of his rape indictment, an absence Baylor did not specifically explain. Baylor sought an NCAA waiver in 2013 to make Ukwuachu immediately eligible, but Boise State reportedly said it would not support the petition.
- Jeremy Woo