Chris Petersen: Art Briles knew about Sam Ukwuachu’s problems
Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was found guilty on Thursday of sexually assaulting a former Baylor soccer player in October 2013. Bears head coach Art Briles told reporters this week that he was unaware of Ukwuachu’s history of violence that in part led to him being kicked off the team at Boise State in May 2013.
Chris Petersen, who coached Ukwuachu at Boise State before he transferred to Baylor, says Briles is a liar.
In a statement to ESPN.com on Friday, Petersen said he had a phone call with Briles in 2013 shortly after Ukwuachu was dismissed from Boise State.
“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,” Petersen said. “In that conversation, I thoroughly apprised Coach Briles of the circumstances surrounding Sam’s disciplinary record and dismissal.”
Briles said the only thing Petersen mentioned to him in that phone call is that Ukwuachu — who is from Texas — was going through a tough time and needed to come “home.”
“No mention of anything beyond Sam being depressed and needing to come home,” Briles said. “So that was our information. And that’s what you go by.”
Ukwuachu never played a game at Baylor after transferring there in 2013, months after being kicked off the team at Boise State. In addition to a former Baylor soccer player saying she was raped, a former girlfriend of Ukwuachu’s also testified during the trial and claimed Ukwuachu punched her, choked her and physically assaulted her on numerous occasions. Ukwuachu was dismissed from the Boise State football program in 2013 for an unspecified violation of team rules.
“Nobody is going to do that — bring somebody in with a prior conviction or really an allegation,” Briles said. “Like I said, we made our decision on the knowledge we had two years ago.”
It’s hard to believe that Briles had no knowledge of Ukwuachu’s violent past. The final straw for Ukwuachu getting kicked off the team at Boise State was him drunkenly punching through a windows. Did Briles and Baylor not know about that? They obviously didn’t know Ukwuachu was going to rape a woman once he was on campus, but they definitely should have been a lot more careful with a player who clearly had serious issues upon transferring.
Photo: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports