Baylor football coach Art Briles says former Boise State coach Chris Petersen didn't tell him about Sam Ukwuachu's “violence toward women.”
Ukwuachu was found guilty Thursday of sexually assaulting a female student and former Baylor soccer player in the fall of 2013 and sentenced to six months' jail time and 10 years of felony probation Friday.
After Briles publicly denied Friday morning ever being aware of Ukwuachu's past violent transgressions at Boise State, former Boise State coach Chris Petersen, now at Washington, released a statement that said the opposite: that he “thoroughly” informed Briles of the circumstances surrounding Ukwuachu's “disciplinary record and dismissal.”
In a statement released responding to Petersen, Briles said the coach reached out to him in spring 2013, when Ukwuachu was looking for a new school after being dismissed from the Boise State program due to an unspecified violation of team rules. Briles stated that Petersen “would never recommend a student-athlete to Baylor that he didn't believe in,” and that in their conversation Petersen disclosed only Ukwuachu's “rocky relationship with his girlfriend,“ not a history of violence toward women.
While at Boise State, Ukwuachu was accused of being abusive toward a former girlfriend. Briles said the only disciplinary actions he was aware of were “team-related issues, insubordination of coaches and missing practice.”
He also noted that Boise State acknowledged Ukwuachu was not suspended due to any institutional discipline and that he was eligible to compete if he returned to Boise State. A signed copy of Ukwuachu's transfer paperwork obtained by ESPN confirmed that he was not dismissed for disciplinary reasons.
Baylor released a statement Friday evening after Ukwuachu's sentencing announcing a “comprehensive internal inquiry” into the case, and “the conduct of the offices involved.”
In wake of Ukwuachu's dismissal from the Boise State team, he told Rivals.com in May 2013 that Baylor coaches “knew everything."
In addition to Ukwuachu's jail time and probation, a Waco, Texas district court judge also sentenced the former player to 400 hours of community service. The jury recommended he be sentenced to eight years in prison, but that the sentence be probated.
Ukwuachu was taken to jail to begin his sentence immediately following the court ruling. His attorney reportedly said they were “pleased” with the probation sentence and that it “shows who Sam is as a person.” The attorney said Ukwuachu maintains his innocence, according to ESPN's Max Olson.
Ukwuachu was indicted on two felony charges in the case in June 2014, but the allegations were not reported by media until earlier this month. On Thursday, a report from Texas Monthly alleged the case was mishandled by Baylor and authorities.
- Jeremy Woo