Big 12 waives intraconference transfer rules for Baylor players

Updated: August 25, 2003, 8:47 PM ET

DALLAS -- Baylor basketball players who transfer to other Big 12 schools won't lose a season of eligibility, the conference ruled Monday.

In waiving the intraconference transfer rule, the Big 12 cited the extreme and unique circumstances of Baylor's situation, as well as the NCAA waiving its transfer rule and the school supporting the decision.

"The council was careful to clarify in its vote that the action was based upon the unique circumstances presented in the Baylor situation," said Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg of the ruling by the league's Council of Faculty Athletics Representatives.

Baylor President Robert Sloan Jr. offered all players a release from their scholarships Aug. 8 when he announced major violations had been found in the basketball program and coach Dave Bliss resigned.

Sloan asked the NCAA to waive its rule that players transferring within Division I schools sit out one year before being eligible. The NCAA granted that waiver last week, but said conference rules would still apply.

The Big 12's ruling means junior guards John Lucas III and Kenny Taylor, the second- and third-leading scorers last season for Baylor, would be eligible to play this season at different conference schools.

Lucas told Houston television station KRIV on Monday that he was transferring to Oklahoma State and expected to begin classes in Stillwater, Okla., this week.

"We would rather have John on the team than play against him, but we'll help him any way we can," new Baylor coach Scott Drew told KRIV. "We are just really thankful that he stayed and played for Baylor for two years."

Taylor said last week that he was transferring to Texas, which has a scholarship available.

Lawrence Roberts, Baylor's top scorer and rebounder last season, signed a letter of intent last week with Mississippi State and started classes at the SEC school.

The school launched an internal inquiry into possible NCAA violations in July, after allegations surfaced of improper payments to players following the disappearance of junior Patrick Dennehy. Dennehy's body was found July 25, and former Baylor player Carlton Dotson is charged with murder.

Bliss and athletic director Tom Stanton resigned. The school placed itself on a two-year probation and won't participate in any postseason tournaments next season, including the Big 12 tournament.

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