WACO, Texas -- A former Baylor University basketball player
has filed a lawsuit claiming former coach Dave Bliss broke a
promise to help the athlete get into law school and to pay for it.
Chad Elsey is seeking more than $100,000 in damages -- including
the cost of tuition and books for another law school -- from Bliss
and Baylor. Elsey, who is representing himself, filed the breach of
contract suit Monday in Waco.
Elsey, a law student at the University of Tulsa, graduated from
Baylor with a finance degree in December 2001, according to the
team's media guide.
A 6-foot-6 forward, Elsey transferred to Baylor
from SMU in 1999. After sitting out a season because of NCAA transfer rules, Elsey played two seasons at Baylor,
averaging 6 points and 2.3 rebounds a game.
He did not return calls Wednesday to the Waco Tribune-Herald.
His mother, Lori Elsey, declined comment to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The suit alleges that during a campus tour, Bliss promised to
pay for Elsey's law school tuition. Elsey claims he asked Bliss
about possible NCAA penalties.
"Bliss explained that there were ways around NCAA rules," the
suit says. "Bliss further promised (Elsey) that he had connections
at the law school and gaining admittance for one of his players was
Revelations of Baylor's NCAA violations surfaced last summer
after basketball player Patrick Dennehy disappeared and was found
dead six weeks later. His former teammate, Carlton Dotson, has been
charged with murder and is jailed in Waco awaiting trial.
Bliss resigned in August after the Baylor investigative
committee discovered that Dennehy and another player received
improper tuition payments. Committee members have said they believe
Bliss was the source of the money.
Later, a tape secretly recorded by an assistant coach revealed
that Bliss suggested that some players tell investigators that
Dennehy paid his tuition by dealing drugs.
Bliss has since moved to Lakewood, Colo., a Denver suburb.
Bliss' wife, Claudia, said Wednesday that Bliss was at work at a
sporting goods store and was not available for comment.
Bliss' attorney, Mike McCue of Dallas, said the former coach
"categorically denies" that he promised Elsey admission to or
payment for Baylor Law School.
Noley Bice, Baylor's general counsel, said Baylor and its
in-house investigation committee have reviewed Elsey's suit and
that it seems to lack merit.
Elsey's action is the second basketball-related lawsuit against
the university since Dennehy's death. Patrick Dennehy
Sr., has filed suit asserting that his son was killed after he
decided to expose irregularities in the basketball program.