Sloan: Baylor committed to this season and Big 12 despite scandal

Updated: August 18, 2003, 11:17 PM ET

WACO, Texas -- Investigators looking into allegations of NCAA violations at Baylor University heard another audio tape Monday of former basketball coach Dave Bliss in the widening scandal at the school.

Kirk Watson, counsel for Baylor's in-house investigations committee, said the tape would be available to local prosecutors to determine if any laws were broken. He wouldn't say what the committee heard on the newest tape, provided by Richard Guinn, the father of senior center R.T. Guinn.

The investigative committee has already heard secretly recorded tapes in which Bliss apparently tried to persuade players and an assistant coach to portray slain player Patrick Dennehy as a drug dealer.

Richard Guinn recorded a conversation Bliss, who formerly coached at Oklahoma, had Saturday with his son at their Waco home. Richard Guinn turned his tape over to investigators.

Richard Guinn wouldn't disclose the nature of the conversation, but said Bliss at one point apologized to R.T. Guinn, saying, "I'm sorry about the things that happened." Bliss, who knew Guinn was recording him, also brought a tape recorder to the meeting but didn't say why he wanted to record the conversation.

The earlier tapes -- capturing conversations among Bliss, assistant Abar Rouse and players -- indicate Bliss thought the drug story would steer investigators away from allegations the coach had improperly paid for Dennehy's tuition, an NCAA violation.

Dennehy's stepfather, Brian Brabazon, has told The Associated Press he plans to pursue a civil lawsuit in the case.

Dennehy was found shot to death on July 25. An autopsy found no alcohol, opiates, amphetamines or barbiturates in his system, but his body was too decomposed to test for marijuana.

A former teammate, Carlton Dotson, has been charged with Dennehy's murder.

Also Monday, Baylor president Robert Sloan said the university is committed to remaining in the Big 12 Conference and putting a complete team on the court next season.

"I fully intend to compete," Sloan said.

Sloan participated in an online discussion with Baylor fans on the school's Web site. He answered about 15 of the approximately 500 questions sent in. They included questions about Bliss, the future of the Baylor program and why Sloan himself hasn't resigned.

Sloan said he was "shocked and disappointed," by the coverup plot involving Bliss. "On the other hand, all of us need to remember that Dave Bliss and his entire family are in need of our prayers."

Sloan said he believed Baylor had support throughout the university and the Big 12 for staying in the league.

"The answer is not to run away from the problems," Sloan said. "I can tell you that our Big 12 colleagues have been very supportive."

He said the university granted current players their release because that's what he would have wanted if he was a player's father.

"There is no question that we might well lose players," he said. "I asked myself what I would want for my son, if my son had innocently been involved in such tragic circumstances. So, applying the Golden Rule, we offered releases."

Asked why he hadn't resigned like Baylor athletic director Tom Stanton, Sloan said, "I serve at the will of our board. I am totally committed to this university."

Stanton resigned Aug. 8, the same day as Bliss, although Sloan said there's no evidence Stanton participated in any of the alleged NCAA violations or the coverup.

Star junior forward Lawrence Roberts said Monday that he's transferring to Mississippi State, and his decision could trigger a large-scale defection from the team.

Baylor officials have granted several players their release to allow them to look at other schools.

Sloan did not say where the team, which still doesn't have a head coach since Bliss resigned, will get new players if most of the current roster leaves. He also gave no timeline for how quickly Baylor will hire a new coach.

Dotson is in a Maryland jail on a Texas murder warrant. In Chestertown, Md., jailers stepped up their observation of Dotson after he began throwing clothing and other belongings out of his cell Saturday.

Ronald Howell, warden of the Kent County Detention Center, said reports that Dotson was placed on a suicide watch were incorrect but jailers did keep a closer eye on him.

"It's more intensive than what he was on," Howell said, adding that Dotson didn't try to hurt himself and apparently calmed down later the same day.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index