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Morning Dish

August 22, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Friday, August 22nd

As usual, there’s a lot of Baylor news, so here’s the breakdown:

New Head Coach: Valparaiso head coach Scott Drew is leaving Indiana to take over the ruined Baylor basketball program. Drew, who will be announced as the new head coach at a press conference today, has a 20-11 career record in his one season as a head coach at Valpo, where he took the Crusaders to the NIT after losing in the Mid-Continent Conference tournament finals to IUPUI. He was an assistant on the squad that saw his brother Bryce drain a shot at the buzzer to down Mississippi to take Valpo to the Sweet Sixteen in the 1998 NCAA’s. At age 32, he’s one of the youngest D-I coaches, and is known as a good international recruiter. To replace Scott Drew, legendary Valpo coach Homer Drew will come out of his one-year retirement to satisfy the Valpo faithful that might question the state of their program after the switch. Valparaiso has been a Lutheran-operated school since 1925, and Baylor is the world’s largest Baptist university.

Dennehy Lawsuit: The father of slain Baylor player Patrick Dennehy, Patrick Dennehy, Sr., has filed a lawsuit against Baylor, claiming school officials conspired to cover up information about his son’s death, concealed illegal activities in the athletic department, and created an unsafe atmosphere for his son. The lawsuit, which was filed in Harris County (Houston) District Court, seeks at least $50,000 in damages. Baylor coaches and officials have admitted to ignoring Dennehy’s concerns about threats to his and roommate’s Carlton Dotson’s safety, to which the two players purchased guns for protection. Dotson is being held in a Maryland jail awaiting extradition to Texas to face charges that he murdered Dennehy. The suit was filed in Houston to get away from the influence of Baylor in Waco.

No Confidence: A faculty leader at Baylor has called for a no-confidence vote in Baylor president Robert Sloan. Sloan, who welcomed incoming freshman yesterday, had several years ago announced a ten-year plan to improve Baylor and strengthen its Christian mission. Baylor is the world’s largest Baptist university. Sloan’s critics question his overall leadership and oversight of university programs, as well as mounting debt from improvement projects to the campus. The vote of no-confidence is scheduled for a faculty senate vote on September 9th. Board chairman Drayton McLane, owner of the Houston Astros, supports Sloan and how he’s handled the men’s basketball crisis.

Bliss-ful Influence?: Baylor senior center R.T. Guinn admitted to providing false testimony to investigators in the Patrick Dennehy case out of loyalty to head coach Dave Bliss. A tape of Bliss telling players to lie to investigators and tell them that Dennehy sold drugs to pay for his tuition was revealed last week. Guinn, who told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he was confused, but now feels betrayed by Bliss, who put him in a compromising position. Guinn stated that he plans on staying at Baylor in order to graduate this coming spring, but at the same time has requested his release from the basketball program. The NCAA has allowed the Baylor players to transfer without sitting out a year. However, the NCAA may penalize Guinn for lying to investigators, even if he was coerced by Bliss.

Herring Duped: The Baylor internal investigation uncovered that former coach Dave Bliss had arranged for a booster to pay freshman Corey Herring’s tuition, along with Patrick Dennehy’s tuition. Herring is the other player previously named to having his expenses covered. Sources stated that Herring was unaware that a booster was paying for is schooling, citing that Herring had signed a National Letter of Intent and had all of his paperwork in order for the NCAA clearinghouse. Herring signed with Baylor last summer, after the May 15th deadline for letters of intent, so the fact that he signed one is moot. However, since he signed a scholarship offer, the school is bound to Herring, and he can leave the school with no penalty. Herring played sparingly last season, appearing in 18 games and scoring 3 total points.

Anyone Left?: Scott Drew may not have anyone to coach. With Guinn and Herring requesting their release yesterday, the tally of Baylor players that will potentially leave stood at eight. The parents of two players, Ellis Kidd and Terrance Thomas, said they have not requested their releases. Three other players have already received their release, but have not transferred yet: junior guard John Lucas III, Tommy Swanson, and Harvey Thomas. Three other players have already transferred: Lawrence Roberts (Mississippi State), Kenny Taylor (Texas), and Tyrone Nelson (Prairie View A&M). Classes start Monday at Baylor.

A Different Kind of Transfer: Because the Dave Bliss cover-up audiotapes were made public before turning them over to the Waco Police, the case may be turned over to the Texas Rangers. According to the Dallas Morning news, any individual who had offered false information to police (such as Guinn) could be subject to perjury charges. In addition, if someone had offered the concocted story to police, Mr. Bliss could face a charge of suborning perjury. With so many concurrent investigations, Baylor is sitting on the tapes until a law enforcement body requests them. The Texas Rangers, the state police of Texas, have not been involved in any of the investigation to this point, and thus would be an impartial agency.

Swan Dies: St. Bonaventure’s chairman of the board of trustees, William Swan, has died at the age of 55. Swan died suddenly at his home, and late reports yesterday indicate that suicide is the suspected cause of death. Swan, who is chairman of First Niagara Bank/First Niagara Financial, oversaw the resignations of St. Bonaventure’s president, Robert Wickenheiser, athletic director Gothard Lane, and head coach Jan van Breda Kolff during the Jamil Terrell eligibility scandal that caused the Bonnies to forfeit eight games and ban themselves from postseason, and almost getting booted from the A-10 Conference.

Cat Suspended: Incoming Cincinnati junior forward James White received a one-game suspension for playing in the AND 1 Mixtape Tour in Cincinnati in July. White, who was invited to play in the streetball festival from the crowd, violated NCAA rules on participation in unsanctioned events. A former McDonald’s High School All-American, White transferred from Florida after his freshman year, when he averaged 6 points and 3 boards per game.

Cat Leaving: Arizona freshman forward Chris Dunn has let the school, a spokesperson for the university said yesterday. Dunn, who redshirted last season, was expected to contribute for the shorthanded Wildcats, who lost three starters from last season’s squad (Jason Gardner, Rick Anderson, and Luke Walton), as well as recruit Ndudi Ebi to the NBA Draft. Dunn, from Hobbs, New Mexico, had 17 points and 12 boards per game as a high school senior.

Vote of Confidence: Mike Alden, athletic director at Missouri, yesterday gave head coach Quin Snyder “an unbelievable amount of confidence” in the swarm of controversy involving an NCAA investigation into illegal benefits given to former Tiger guard Ricky Clemons, academic fraud issues surrounding his and a teammate’s recruitment from Southern Idaho University, and the FBI’s request for tapes of Clemons’ jail cell phone conversations. Unfortunately, most often in sports, a vote of confidence usually means that the recipient will be gone in the next week or two.

Not So Fast: The NCAA won a round against tournament promoters as an appeals court issued a stay of an NCAA request to delay a decision overturning the 2-in-4 rule. The rule, which prohibits D-I schools from playing in more than two exempt tournaments in four years, was challenged by several tournament promoters, who are having difficulty getting name-brand schools to fill out their tournaments and draw enough of a crowd. Eleven of the 28 exempt tournaments were cancelled last season due to lack of compelling matchups. No word yet on when the appeal will be heard.

Hog Injured: Arkansas sophomore forward Wenbos Mukubu was injured during practice and will be out of action for at least six weeks. Mukubu strained a quadriceps muscle in his left leg while practicing for the Razorback’s upcoming four-game exhibition trip to Mexico during Labor Day weekend.
Bruin Now a Vol: Former UCLA forward Andre Patterson has transferred to Tennessee, enrolling in classes yesterday. Patterson, a 6-7 forward that averaged 7.5 points and 5.5. boards per game last season, was released from the Bruin program due to poor academics, but has cleared eligibility requirements for Tennessee. He will be on scholarship this season while he sits out due to NCAA transfer rules.

Maybin Moved: Former Louisville player Marques Maybin, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident two weeks ago, was transferred from Vanderbilt University Medical Center to the Shepherd Center, a catastrophic-care hospital in Atlanta. Maybin, a Clarksville, Tennessee native, crashed his motorcycle into the back of a pickup truck on August 5th, and underwent surgery at Vanderbilt a few days later. Louisville has set up a fund to help Maybin cover medical bills.

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