Boise State: Abuse allegations not cause of Ukwuachu dismissal

Boise State issued a statement Tuesday night asserting that the school did not receive a report of physical abuse by former player Sam Ukwuachu, and that Ukwuachu's dismissal did not pertain to any accusations of sexual assault or physical abuse against women.

Baylor coach Art Briles, who accepted Ukwuachu as a transfer in 2013, has said the information he received from Boise State coach Chris Petersen about Ukwuachu's past wasn't sufficient for Briles to turn the former freshman All-American away at the time of his transfer.

Briles' vetting of Ukwuachu has come under great scrutiny after Ukwuachu was convicted last week of sexually assaulting a then-Baylor soccer player in 2013. Ukwuachu's ex-girlfriend testified during the trial that Ukwuachu hit and choked her during his time at Boise State, although no charges were filed. Briles has contended a conversation he had with Petersen didn't sufficiently advise him that the player had an allegedly violent past.

The Boise State statement read, in part: "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. In widely reported testimony from the Aug. 20 Texas trial, Ukwuachu's former girlfriend stated Ukwuachu hit and choked her while they were students at Boise State. This information about their relationship was not reported to Boise State when the two were students here."

The school cited federal privacy laws in saying that it is prohibited from releasing the exact reason for his dismissal from the football program. Boise State also announced an immediate Title IX inquiry, based on the transcripts of testimony from Ukwuachu's trial.

Following his transfer, Ukwuachu was quoted as saying that the Baylor coaching staff was aware of the reasons Petersen dismissed him from the Boise State program. As well, a recent report by Texas Monthly cited partially redacted emails written by Boise State assistant athletic director Marc Paul indicating concern about Ukwuachu's allegedly violent behavior in his final days at the school. According to an ESPN report, Boise State's medical director diagnosed Ukwuachu with a "major depressive disorder" three days prior to his dismissal from the program. The same report cited Boise State's 238-page file on Ukwuachu that was submitted for his trial in Texas. That file indicated Boise State officials had met with the player regarding both a failed drug test and mental health issues. According to the file, Ukwuachu smoked synthetic marijuana to cope with anxiety, and had suicidal thoughts. He was prescribed various medications, including an antipsychotic drug, Risperidone, per the report.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sports Illustrated reported a former Florida employee said Boise State's disclosures on Ukwuachu to UF were more than enough for the Gators to turn away from Ukwuachu before he transferred to Baylor in 2013.

"There was no way," the employee told SI. "[Former coach Will Muschamp] wouldn't touch him."

According to the SI report, a Boise State athletic department employee advised Florida that Ukwuachu had allegedly physically abused his girlfriend, and that he had allegedly punched out a window while intoxicated in the couple's residence.

Ukwuachu was never charged with a crime at Boise State, and was sentenced to six months in the Baylor sexual assault case, with 10 years of felony probation.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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