On Tuesday Boise State released a statement explaining the university was unaware of former defensive end Sam Ukwuachu and his violent past, saying that was not the reason for his dismissal from the program in 2013. According to a report from Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com, citing records obtained through a Texas district court, Ukwuachu was dismissed from the Broncos football team just days after doctors diagnosed Ukwuachu with a major depressive disorder.
Baylor head coach Art Briles said there was no information shared by Boise State regarding a violent side of Ukwuachu as the player was looking to transfer. Former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen, now at Washington, released a statement saying he was as forthcoming as possible with Briles and that his intention was to help Ukwuachu move forward from off-field issues. Petersen’s comments never confirmed those issues were of a violent nature, and this new information would seem to fit right into the equation. Ukwuachu is a Texas native, so the idea of playing meaningful football closer to home may have ideal. No Boise State official was aware of his alleged violence off the field, the university states.
During Ukwuachu’s recent trial, in which he was found guilty of rape and sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation, his former girlfriend at Boise State testified she was the victim of Ukwuachu’s violence but she never contacted police or Boise State officials. Court records also show Ukwuachu was drug tested 20 times while at Boise State. The same documents also show Ukwuachu was using synthetic marijuana to cope with his depression, which led to suicidal thoughts. He was prescribed an antidepressant and an antipsychotic.
Depression can be a major hurdle for any person, and can lead to violence. This should not be used as an excuse for Ukwuachu’s actions, but the psychology of it all is very much worth examining. And if all Baylor knew about was the psychological concerns regarding Ukwuachu, and not the violent episodes, then it is much easier to see how he ended up at Baylor in the end.