I didn't think it was possible for the story of murdered Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy to get any sleazier, but I was wrong.
WACO -- Baylor University president Robert Sloan and chairman of the Board of Regents Drayton McLane expressed "outrage" and "anger" Saturday at the actions of former head men's basketball coach Dave Bliss.
Evidence surfaced Friday that Bliss, who resigned his position Aug. 8, attempted to have players lie to investigators by presenting information that would lead them to believe murdered teammate Patrick Dennehy had paid his tuition by dealing drugs. There is evidence that one player may have gone through with the deception.
Dennehy's stepfather, Brian Brabazon, was furious to find out Bliss had attended his slain son's funeral one day before his resignation, shaking family members' hands to offer condolences, despite knowing he had tried to tarnish Dennehy's reputation.
"Had I had even an inkling of this, I would have grabbed his hand and his throat and thrown him against the wall and beat him," Brabazon told the Associated Press.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram acquired copies of tapes of conversations secretly recorded by assistant coach Abar Rouse, detailing Bliss' plan to throw investigators off the trail. Sloan has strongly hinted that the school believes Bliss was solely responsible for the payment of Dennehy's and teammate Corey Herring's tuitions.
The tapes, which were reportedly made on July 30, 31 and Aug. 1, indicate Bliss was preparing his counterattack even as the school's investigators were looking into allegations regarding the basketball team.
"I think the thing we want to do -- and you think about this -- if there's any way that we can create the perception of the fact that Pat may have been a dealer," Bliss reportedly said on the tape. "Even if we had to make some things look a little better than they are, that can save us."
Rouse, who was hired by Bliss on June 1, said the former coach threatened to fire him if he did not help with the coverup scheme. He decided to record the conversations for his protection.
The committee found no evidence Dennehy was involved in drug dealing. Bliss could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Chron columnist John Lopez wrote recently that the Big 12 should give Baylor the boot. Hard to believe that a conference whose schools have hired the likes of Barry Switzer and Jackie Sherrill in the past could find something to get morally indignant about, but there you have it. Of course, on a practical level, it's not clear who would replace Baylor among the Dirty Dozen. Lopez' suggestion of Arkansas or LSU is fantasy - there's no way in hell the SEC lets itself get raided. Brigham Young has often been tossed around as a candidate for one of the BCS conferences. I can't really think of any other reasonable fits. Not that I really care what happens to the Big 12, mind you.Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 17, 2003 to Other sports | TrackBack