Baylor coach Bliss resigns, president admits major violations

Updated: August 9, 2003, 12:25 PM ET

WACO, Texas -- Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss' decision to resign, just a day after the funeral of player Patrick Dennehy, came as a university investigation revealed major violations by the program.

Athletic director Tom Stanton was also resigning, and the school put its basketball program on at least two years' probation, Baylor president Robert Sloan said after Bliss' brief resignation announcement Friday.

Sloan said the school's investigation committee uncovered major violations regarding players getting paid and improper drug testing.

As a self-imposed punishment, he said, the program will not participate in any postseason tournaments next season, including the Big 12 tournament, and offered to allow any player to transfer. Baylor will also report the violations to the NCAA.

"Additional sanctions may be imposed as the investigation continues," he said.

Since 6-foot-10 junior forward Dennehy was reported missing in mid-June, Bliss has been scrutinized for everything from whom he recruited to how closely he oversaw the team.

"I'm the head coach and I'm accountable for everything that goes on in my program," Bliss said in a hastily arranged campus news conference. "I accept that responsibility. I intend to cooperate fully as the inquiry continues. I'll do whatever I can to make things right."

The university launched the internal inquiry in July into possible NCAA violations, after allegations surfaced of improper payments to players.

Dennehy's family also complained that coaches didn't take seriously threats he had reported receiving.

Dennehy's body was found last month in Waco near a rock quarry. Carlton Dotson, 21, Dennehy's roommate and former teammate, was arrested and charged with his murder July 21, after reportedly telling authorities he shot Dennehy when Dennehy tried to shoot him.

Sloan and Bliss were among nearly a dozen Baylor officials who attended a memorial service for Dennehy in San Jose on Thursday. Baylor, the world's largest Baptist university with 14,000 students, will hold its own memorial Aug. 28 on campus.

Dennehy, a transfer from New Mexico transfer who sat out last season because of NCAA transfer rules, was reported missing by his family on June 19, about a week after he was last seen on campus.

Dotson remains jailed without bond in his home state of Maryland and awaits extradition to Texas, which could take as long as three months.

After his arrest, Dotson told The Associated Press that he "didn't confess to anything."

The 59-year-old Bliss has been a Division I coach for 28 seasons, working previously at Oklahoma, SMU and New Mexico. He arrived at Baylor in 1999 and in four years began turning around a program that had been placed on NCAA probation twice since the mid-1980s.

Baylor was 14-14 last season, but just 5-11 in the Big 12. The Bears were 61-57 in his tenure.

Bliss did not answer questions following his resignation announcement. Stanton joined Sloan at a news conference following Bliss' announcement, but did not speak.

Stanton, who was in his sixth year as AD at his alma mater, will remain on the job until his successor is named.

The NCAA put Baylor on five-year probation in 1994 after an investigation found that coaches were illegally doing correspondence work for players. An FBI inquiry resulted in mail and wire fraud convictions against three assistant coaches. Former head coach Darrel Johnson was fired.

In 1986, the Baylor basketball team was slapped with a two-year probation after the NCAA said it provided cash, transportation and other illegal benefits to players. A player secretly recorded a conversation in which former head coach Jim Haller agreed to give him $172 for a car payment.


Associated Press sports writer Jaime Aron contributed to this report.

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