The father of former Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachutold KWTX in Waco, Texas, that Bears coach Art Briles was not told by Boise State head coach Chris Petersen about Ukwuachu’s alleged violent past.
Ukwuachu, 22, was convicted on Aug. 20 of sexually assaulting a female student who was a former Baylor soccer player in the fall of 2013. He was sentenced to six months’ jail and 10 years of felony probation.
Ukwuachu transferred to Baylor in the fall of 2013 after he was dismissed by Boise State in May 2013. While at Boise State, Ukwuachu was accused of being abusive toward a former girlfriend and was later dismissed from the team for an unspecified violation of team rules. Ukwuachu told Rivals.com in May 2013 that Baylor coaches “knew everything.”
The former girlfriend testified during Ukwuachu’s trial that he “punched her, choked her, physically restrained her and had a violent temper,” according to KWTX, but Boise State later said no incident was ever reported while the two were students.
The day after Ukwuachu was convicted, Briles denied ever being aware of Ukwuachu’s alleged violent past at Boise State. Petersen, the former Boise State coach now at Washington, released a statement to the contrar, saying he “thoroughly” informed Briles of the circumstances surrounding Ukwuachu’s “disciplinary record and dismissal.”
In the interview with KWTX, Ukwuachu’s father, Felix, said he went to Boise in May 2013 to pick up his son and meet with Petersen. Felix said Peterseon was going to recommend his son to his “friend Art Briles” and that he was nearby when Petersen called Briles.
“We could hear the whole conversation,” he said.
“Petersen said ‘Samuel is a dynamic player, a good boy’ (and) said he would be pleased if you take him into your school,” Felix Ukwuachu said.
Petersen “did not let Samuel go because of sexual abuse or any kind of abuse,” Ukwuachu said.
“Samuel was depressed, Samuel was homesick it was making him ... think suicidal thoughts, so we decided that we told him you have to come home,” he said.
“Samuel was in good standing with University of Boise State, Boise state,” he said, and a transfer document that Baylor released confirmed that.
Briles issued a statement responding to Petersen that said Petersen reached out to him in spring 2013, after Ukwuachu was dismissed from Boise State due to the unspecified rules violation. Briles said Petersen “would never recommend a student-athlete to Baylor that he didn’t believe in” and that Petersen only disclosed Ukwuachu’s “rocky relationship with his girlfriend,” not a history of violence toward women.
Briles also said that as required for any transfer to Baylor, Boise State acknowledged that Ukwuachu “was not suspended due to any institutional disciplinary reasons.” A signed copy of Ukwuachu’s transfer paperwork obtained by ESPN confirmed that Ukwuachu was not dismissed for disciplinary reasons.
- Mike Fiammetta