Baylor's top three scorers leaving; seven players staying

Updated: August 26, 2003, 10:10 AM ET

WACO, Texas -- Former Baylor guard John Lucas III is transferring to Oklahoma State University and has enrolled in classes.

The junior guard describes his decision to transfer from the beleaguered Baylor to OSU as a business decision.

Lucas visited Oklahoma State during the weekend and said he liked the atmosphere in the college town of Stillwater, Okla., as well as the fans and the school.

"It was the first time it ever felt like it was the right thing to do," Lucas told The Associated Press on Monday night from the Stillwater campus. "This was a business move."

All three of the Bears' top scorers from last season have decided to transfer in the wake of the university's self-imposed probation following revelations of major NCAA violations in the Big 12 Conference program.

Junior post player Lawrence Roberts transferred to Mississippi State, while Lucas and Kenny Taylor are staying in the Big 12, Lucas at Oklahoma State and Taylor at Texas.

The Big 12 announced Monday that Baylor players transferring to other league schools wouldn't lose a season of eligibility. That means Lucas and Taylor could play against their old team this season.

"The council was careful to clarify in its vote that the action was based upon the unique circumstances presented in the Baylor situation," Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg said of the decision 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. Coach Dave 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.

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.

Lucas, who said he would start classes at Oklahoma State on Tuesday, said he liked Baylor as a school. But he wanted the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament.

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

Roberts signed a letter of intent last week with Mississippi State and started classes at the SEC school.

Baylor 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.

Baylor has seven scholarship players committed to remaining on the basketball team for the upcoming season.

Junior forward Harvey Thomas, sophomore forward Tommy Swanson and freshman guard Carl Marshall all started classes Monday at Baylor. They join four other players who had already committed to staying.

"We have seven scholarship players on campus right now," Baylor sports information director Heath Nielsen confirmed Monday night. "That includes Harvey, Marshall and Swanson."

Seniors R.T. Guinn, Matt Sayman and Terrance Thomas were all present Friday when the school introduced new coach Scott Drew. Junior Ellis Kidd Jr. also committed to staying after Drew's hiring.

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