WACO, Texas (KXAN) – Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu was sentenced to 180 days in jail and given 10 years of probation Friday for sexually assaulting a female soccer player at the Texas university.
Washington coach Chris Petersen says he “thoroughly apprised” Baylor coach Art Briles about the circumstances of Sam Ukwuachu’s dismissal from Boise State, long before the player’s sexual assault conviction this week.
A jury in Texas district court found the 22-year-old Ukwuachu guilty of one count of sexual assault for an incident in Waco, Texas, involving a female Baylor soccer player. Ukwuachu’s former girlfriend testified during the trial that he had struck and choked her when he attended Boise State, where Petersen was the coach.
Ukwuachu was also was ordered to perform 400 hours of community service as another condition of probation. He had faced up to 20 years in prison.
Ukwuachu, a defensive end from Pearland, Texas, started 12 games for Boise State as a freshman. He transferred in 2013 after being dismissed for unspecified reasons, but never played for Baylor. He was ineligible in 2013 because of NCAA transfer rules and suspended in 2014, though Baylor never gave a reason.
Briles on Friday was asked by reporters about Ukwuachu’s transfer and said he did not know the details about why the player left Boise State.
“I talked to Chris Petersen personally,” Briles said. “No mention of anything beyond Sam being depressed and needing to come home. That was our information and that’s what you go by.”
Petersen, who coached Boise State from 2006-2013 before taking at over Washington last year, released a statement later in the day that seemed to contradict Briles.
“After Sam Ukwuachu was dismissed from the Boise State football program and expressed an interest in transferring to Baylor, I initiated a call with coach Art Briles,” he said. “In that conversation, I thoroughly apprised Coach Briles of the circumstances surrounding Sam’s disciplinary record and dismissal.”
Prosecutors say Ukwuachu sexually assaulted a former Baylor women’s soccer player at his Waco apartment. Ukwuachu has said the encounter was consensual.
After the verdict, the judge ruled Ukwuachu’s bond insufficient and ordered him jailed.
Baylor University police are also facing scrutiny for their handling of the incident. ABaylor official testified the school investigated the woman’s complaint but didn’t find enough evidence “to move forward.”
“It’s unfortunate for everybody concerned. It’s really about it,” Briles said Friday. “Our timeline was followed by what the standards were here. When the incident happened, he’s off the roster. Never played a down for us.”