"I messed up and I hurt a lot of people. I mean, I really messed up. . . .
"I cheated because I was weak. I'm not in denial; I cheated. I take responsibility and, unfortunately, the consequences have really been terrific. . . . If I take my situation and I cower, and I go off into the hills, which is what your instinct is to do, that's not what I need to do." . . .
"I can encourage a lot of people who have messed up that God is faithful. Every day is a new day. . . . I didn't find God; I knew God all the time. I just forgot Him," said Bliss, now the president and co-founder of Interactive Occupational Training Inc., a 2-year-old Lakewood company that describes itself as an entrant in the "Web-based training industry."
"I think we're all on the road every day (to being better)," Bliss said. "I've been spanked; I can get better or bitter." . . .
Bliss' world began to fragment with the murder of Baylor junior forward Patrick Dennehy by teammate Carlton Dotson in 2003. The investigation led to revelations that included Bliss trying to persuade assistant coaches and players to depict Dennehy as a drug dealer who used drug money to help pay his tuition.
No criminal charges were filed against Bliss, but in the wake of Dennehy's death, Baylor's internal investigation of the men's basketball program uncovered major NCAA violations that included Bliss paying the tuition of two players (Dennehy was one), a drug-test coverup and assorted examples of players receiving "extra benefits" from Bliss and his staff. The school also was cited for "lack of institutional control."
Bliss declined to talk on the record about Dennehy, Dotson or the drug test coverup cited in the school's investigation. . . .
On a campus where walking the right path is considered paramount, Bliss, a lifelong Baptist, inexplicably wandered and took his program with him.
On Aug. 8, 2003, he resigned under pressure.
Athletic director Tom Stanton, whom Bliss said was a primary reason for coming to Baylor, also resigned the same day, believing he was accountable for the debacle in his department.
Until his final year at Baylor (2002-03), Bliss contended he had "done it right" - or stayed within NCAA rules - while heading the basketball programs at Oklahoma, SMU and New Mexico. But he noted of his nine years at SMU, "We went through a very tough time . . . because the boosters there were very proactive."
Center Jon Koncak, Bliss' best player at SMU and the fifth overall pick in the 1985 NBA draft, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he received illegal payments from boosters while at the school.
Bliss' response: "He's said so many different things. . . . I know how he was recruited, and he never was recruited that way. What happened afterwards, I have no idea. We did try to do it right at every stop." . . .
Widely portrayed after the Baylor scandal as representing all that is insidious in sports, Bliss said he "started to analyze how I had changed, how I had gotten ambitious, how prideful I was, how I felt entitled. . . .
"What has been interesting to me is that after a period of time and I had read all the bad things said about me, I didn't agree with them. I was way worse than the face in that picture." . . .
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Dave Bliss Interview about Baylor Scandal
The Rocky Mountain News has interviewed Dave Bliss, the coach at the center of one of the most sordid NCAA scandals in recent history, involving the 2003 Baylor Basketball Team: