Boise State said in a statement Tuesday that former defensive end Sam Ukwuachu's dismissal was not connected to acts of domestic violence.
Ukwuachu, who transferred from Boise State to Baylor in 2013, was convicted of sexual assault Friday for raping a former Baylor soccer player, and sentenced to 180 days in jail, as well as 10 years of felony probation and 400 hours of community service.
During his trial, Ukwuachu's former girlfriend from Boise State testified he choked and hit her while they were both students at the university. Boise State denied that the incidents were reported to school officials, and asked to see the transcripts of the woman's testimony in order to begin a Title IX inquiry into the incident.
“The incidents and factors that contributed to Ukwuachu's dismissal from the Boise State football team had nothing to do with accusations of any sexual assaults or with accusations that he physically assaulted any women,” Boise State said Tuesday.
“Boise State University never received any reports nor had any knowledge of Sam Ukwuachu being involved in any accusations of sexual assault before or during his time at Boise State.”
According to records from the Texas 54th District Court where Ukwuachu was tried, Ukwuachu's dismissal from Boise State in May 2013 occurred three days after a school medical director diagnosed him with a major depressive disorder. He had reportedly been experiencing suicidal thoughts throughout his last months on campus.
According to an ESPN report, Boise State's assistant athletics director for sports medicine Marc Paul met Ukwuachu's then-girlfriend one month before his dismissal and cited issues of verbal abuse, but included nothing about physical violence in his report.
“We know there [are] issues [including] verbal abuse,” Paul wrote. “She acknowledged arguments & name calling/yelling, etc., but refused to elaborate further. When asked if [she] would admit if physical violence occurs, stated [probably] not & quickly added ‘but he's much better now & has it under control.’”
The defensive end transferred to Baylor in August after being dismissed from Boise State by head coach Chris Peterson on May 6, 2013. Baylor head coach Art Briles has vehemently denied allegations that he knew about Ukwuachu's history of violence toward women upon allowing him to transfer.
Boise State said federal student privacy laws prohibit school officials from releasing information about what exactly led to Ukwuachu being dismissed from the team.
- Kayla Lombardo