Big 12 joins NCAA in granting exemption to players

Updated: August 26, 2003, 12:00 AM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- Baylor basketball players who transfer because of the school's self-imposed probation will be exempt from a Big 12 rule that they sit out a year, the conference ruled Monday.

"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 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.

The NCAA already waived its rule requiring transfers to sit out a year, but conference rules still applied.

The ruling means John Lucas III and Kenny Taylor, the Bears' second- and third-leading scorers, are eligible to play this season at different conference schools.

Lucas told KRIV-TV of Houston on Monday that he was transferring to Oklahoma State and expected to begin classes this week. 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.

Junior Harvey Thomas, sophomore Tommy Swanson and freshman 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.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press