Sam Ukwuachu, a defensive end who transferred to play for Baylor in 2013, was convicted of sexually assaulting a then-Baylor soccer player in 2013 on Thursday. Ukwuachu was sentenced by a Texas judge on Friday to 180 days in county jail, 10 years of felony probation and 400 hours of community service.
Baylor coach Art Briles is facing criticism for bringing Ukwuachu to the team after he had been dismissed from Boise State for violating unspecified team rules. The flashpoint for that criticism has been an exchange of remarks between Briles and former Boise State coach Chris Petersen about a discussion the two had about Ukwuachu's disciplinary issues at Boise State prior to his transfer to Baylor. Ukwuachu had been dismissed at Boise State following an alleged violent incident with a female student.
Briles said Friday that he and his coaching staff were only aware that the Pearland, Texas native was depressed and homesick at Boise State, based on a conversation he had with Petersen. Petersen, now the coach at Washington, released a statement Friday. Peterson said in the statement that he called Briles prior to Ukwuachu's transfer and was thorough in his description of the player's past.
"After Sam 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. In that conversation, I thoroughly apprised coach Briles of the circumstances surrounding Sam's disciplinary record and dismissal," Petersen's statement read.
Briles released a subsequent statement framing the conversation even further.
"I was contacted by coach Petersen at Boise State in spring 2013 and he told me he had a player from Texas who needed to get closer to home and that he thought our program would be a good spot for him," Briles said in the statement. "I know and respect coach Petersen and he would never recommend a student-athlete to Baylor that he didn't believe in. In our discussion, he did not disclose that there had been violence toward women, but he did tell me of a rocky relationship with his girlfriend which contributed to his depression. The only disciplinary action I was aware of were team-related issues, insubordination of coaches and missing practice."
Ukwuachu never played for Baylor, as he was ineligible in 2013 after transferring and was suspended in 2014.