Panel finds Bliss link to summer leagues

Updated: October 11, 2003, 2:48 PM ET

DALLAS -- Former Baylor University coach Dave Bliss encouraged boosters to give money to a Houston summer league basketball program for high school players, which could have influenced recruiting, an internal review committee has found.

Bill Underwood, a Baylor law professor and member of the committee, told The Associated Press Saturday that the panel has reported its findings to the NCAA, but the NCAA hasn't determined whether any rules were violated.

"Is there a potential violation, sure," Underwood said. "There is a potential for problems."

The panel also found that Baylor paid teams sponsored by the Houston program and another based in Allen to play Baylor in exhibition games.

The practice, though not against NCAA rules, is controversial among college coaches because it creates a financial relationship between the college and an organization that can influence recruiting.

Underwood said athletic staff members would be prohibited from encouraging such donations in the future.

"This is not unique to Baylor," Underwood said Saturday. "(But) whether everybody else is doing it or not doesn't matter. If it's something that should not be going on, we don't want Baylor doing it."

Bliss could not be reached for comment by the AP.

The panel learned that more than a dozen boosters contributed a total of more than $10,000 to the Houston Superstars foundation this year, Underwood said. Three high school players the Superstars count among their alumni signed with Baylor during Bliss' tenure.

The Baylor Bears also regularly played exhibition games against teams of former college players put together by two of the state's most prominent summer league organizations -- the Superstars and the Texas Blue Chips, based in Allen.

Underwood said that while many of Division I schools play such exhibition games, he supports an idea proposed in the Big Ten conference of getting rid of them.

John Eurey, who runs the Superstars organization, told The Dallas Morning News for Saturday's editions he has no connection with the Baylor investigation and refused to comment further. Eurey's wife said Saturday Eurey wouldn't be home Saturday to comment to the AP.

Mitch Malone, who runs the Texas Blue Chips, did not return respond to the paper's calls and e-mail seeking comment. He could not be reached by the AP.

Underwood said the committee has been unable to speak with Eurey and plans to get in touch with Malone.

The panel began investigating Baylor's basketball program after the disappearance of player Patrick Dennehy, who was later found murdered.

Bliss resigned after acknowledging that he broke NCAA rules by making payments to Dennehy and another player.

Dennehy played for the University of New Mexico before transferring to Baylor. Bliss also coached at the school before his tenure at Baylor.

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