Briles’ story was simple: former Boise State coach Chris Peterson told him that Ukwuachu had some fits of violence, but that it was mostly due to personal and mental health issues. Both parties thought bringing him closer to his home in Pearland would be an improvement.
Obviously, it wasn’t. Peterson said he “thoroughly apprised” Briles of the situation, which national news outlets took and ran with. The statement was purposefully vague, so people took it to mean what they wanted.
The “situation” seemed to include Ukwuachu’s past struggles with domestic violence towards his former girlfriend. She took the stand and relayed it to the court in his trial. Most assume that’s what Peterson told Briles.
However, Baylor released documents in the immediate aftermath that show the Boise State compliance director checked that Ukwuachu was not only not kicked out of school for domestic violence, but would have been perfectly eligible to return to school at Boise State had he decided.
This evidence did still not convince people. But on Tuesday, Boise State finally pushed its chips to the middle of the table.
“The incidents and factors that contributed to Sam Ukwuachu’s dismissal from the Boise State football team had nothing to do with accusations of any sexual assaults or with accusations that he physically assaulted any women,” a statement from Boise State read. “Boise State University never received any reports nor had any knowledge of Sam Ukwuachu being involved in any accusations of sexual assault before or during his time at Boise State.”
Boise State also said it would undergo a Title IX investigation into its own school concerning the potential abusive relationship.
So now what?
The statement corroborates most of what Briles has been saying all along. The additional interview additional interview with Ukwuachu’s high school coach Tony Heath, one of the more respected personalities in the industry, only seems to add to Briles’ cache.
It must be said, this release does not exonerate Baylor. There are plenty of questions left to answer over the coming weeks about the way the university handled the investigation. Those will be addressed in the coming days. Shameless plug, keep an eye on the Baylor Lariat for that story next week.
To be frank, Briles will almost certainly not stop getting criticism either. That train has left the station. The media has decided to be outraged, so they will be outraged.
Briles is nearing the light at the end of the tunnel. Baylor has backed him. Boise State’s compliance paperwork backs him. Boise State’s statement backs him. Peterson’s unwillingness to clarify the situation during his press conference today backs him.
The dark cloud is starting to move past Baylor.