Big 12 supports prohibiting transfers for violence issues

Big 12 Conference athletic directors are unanimously backing a proposal that would prohibit schools from accepting transfers who were disciplined for violent acts at their previous schools.

In a text to The Associated Press, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Tuesday that conference ADs meeting in New Orleans “supported a policy draft similar to that of the (Southeastern Conference).” Bowlsby said the draft would still need to be refined and submitted to a joint council of faculty athletic representatives and athletic directors for approval.

The SEC earlier this year passed a rule preventing schools from accepting transfers who have been dismissed from another team for “serious misconduct,” defined as sexual assault, domestic violence or other forms of sexual violence. The rule applies to university or athletics department discipline and does not take into account whether a legal case has been made or pending.

SEC officials were prompted to act after Alabama accepted transfer defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor, who was dismissed by Georgia last year after he was arrested for domestic violence. Taylor was arrested again for domestic violence earlier this year, and then dismissed by Alabama. The accuser in that case later recanted and the case was dropped.

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Just in the past week, Baylor coach Art Briles has come under scrutiny for allowing a player who was convicted of sexual assault last week to transfer to the school in 2013 after he was dismissed from Boise State for disciplinary issues.

Sam Ukwuachu, who played defensive end for Boise State as a freshman in 2012 and transferred to Baylor after being dismissed from the Broncos, was sentenced last week to six months in jail and 10 years of probation for assaulting a Baylor women’s soccer player. At his trial, his former girlfriend at Boise State testified he hit and choked her.

Ukwuachu, 22, was never charged or arrested for assaulting his girlfriend at Boise State. It is unclear if Broncos coaches knew about those allegations. Boise State did not at the time specify why Ukwuachu was dismissed.

Briles said he spoke with then-Boise State coach Chris Petersen, now with Washington, about Ukwuachu’s troubles but was never told specifically about acts of violence toward women. Petersen last week said he “thoroughly apprised Coach Briles of the circumstances surrounding Sam’s disciplinary record and dismissal.”

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On Tuesday in Seattle, Petersen declined to expand on that statement.

“I really appreciate that question because I think it’s an important one, but I don’t have anything more to add than what my statement was,” Petersen said. “

Later Tuesday, Boise State released a statement saying allegations by Ukwuachu’s girlfriend that he assaulted her when they were students there were never reported to school officials.

“The incidents and factors that contributed to Sam Ukwuachu’s dismissal from the Boise State football team had nothing to do with accusations of any sexual assaults or with accusations that he physically assaulted any women,” Boise State said. “However, federal laws protecting privacy prohibit Boise State from releasing information about what did result in his dismissal from the Boise State University football team.

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“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.”

Ukwuachu never played for Baylor. He sat out the 2013 season as required by NCAA rules and then was suspended from the team in 2014 after being accused of sexual assault. University police investigated the allegations but declined to go forward with the case. Prosecutors in Waco, Texas, have been critical of the school’s handling of the case.