Just last week, Baylor seemed to be on top of the world. Just 7 years after the horrific scandal, Scott Drew lead the Bears back to the Elite Eight. While they lost Tweety Carter to graduation and Ekpe Udoh to the NBA Draft, Baylor basketball had never seemed better. Star shooting guard LaceDarius Dunn decided to return for his senior season--an almost certain preseason All-American selection; uber-freshman Perry Jones might be the best new frosh in the country (he's certainly the most touted in Baylor's history); and Drew seemed to be the frontrunner for several top recruits in 2011 (Deuce Bello and Quincy Miller just had their official visits October 2nd). Scott Drew and his team satisfied America's love for a redemption story; they were a Disney movie waiting to happen.
Then the wheels fell off. Dunn was arrested for aggravated assault after punching his long-time girlfriend in the face and allegedly breaking her jaw. He was immediately suspended from the team and--more importantly--the school, per university rules. Suddenly, even if Dunn wasn't convicted, there was a (significant) chance he wouldn't be able to recover in time to be academically eligible for second semester. The sleeper championship contender was thrown into limbo.
But now, the real bomb dropped. Earlier tonight Jeff Goodman, of FoxSports.com, reported that Baylor is being investigated by the NCAA. Here are the major points of the article (read the whole article here):
- Baylor is being investigated for their recruitment of Hanner Parea, a junior from Columbia.
Assistant coach Mark Morefield sent "dozens" of illegal texts to Parea's high school and AAU coaches including one that stated:
I guarantee u if he does [commit to another school] he will be in Colombia for the spring and summer and next year. Don't forget it
- The NCAA has interviewed both of Parea's coaches and sources indicate they will be in Waco later this month.
Needless to say, this is not good. The worst case scenario with Dunn is that he never gains eligibility, and the Bears have a lackluster year. But one bad season is unfortunate--especially when expectations have been running so high--but it's not the end of the world. On the other hand, major recruiting violations tend to linger for more than one season. On the surface this case looks like a straightforward "too many texts" deal plaguing many hoops squads this offseason (i.e. Tennessee, UConn, and just about everybody else).
But, according to the article, Drew hired Tim Floyd's old attorney Jim Darnell. It could be me reading too much into the language of the article, but when a coach hires an attorney, things are worse than a minor texting spree (Floyd hired Darnell to help absolve him from accusations that he gave cash to Mayo's handler). Floyd is coaching again (UTEP), so Darnell is probably pretty good. But that still doesn't explain why Drew needs an attorney to begin with.
I DEFINITELY do not know enough about this situation to know the extent of the allegations or possible repercussions. What I do know is this news caught me totally off guard. One thing is for sure, if these allegations have a shred of truth, Scott Drew's pristine reputation will take a big hit. More to come, as more information becomes available.