College athletics — ok, big time, revenue-producing, basketball and football programs — are no strangers to scandal. Foremost among them: oxymoronic “student-athletes” and their rap sheet, thuggish, criminal behavior.
But even for the win-at-all-costs crowd, what’s going on at Baylor University is a new low on the sordid scale. The Waco, Texas-based university can’t find one of its players, 6-foot-10 forward Patrick Donnehy, and it increasingly looks as if he has been murdered. The investigation remains centered on Baylor players, including the euphemistic “person of interest.”
So what’s a head coach to do? If you’re the ironically named Dave Bliss of Baylor, you forge on. That means, among other things, resumption of the recruiting game. A campus youth basketball camp was recently held as scheduled. “We feel we have to move forward,” explained Bliss.
What must be a helluva lot harder to explain to recruits — and their parents — is the nature of a program that wishes it were merely reeling from bogus SAT scores or boosters gone wild. What do you say when your program is in the midst of a nationally publicized homicide investigation?
“Well, Mrs. Jones, “we’ve tried to do everything in the appropriate manner and now we have to move on. But please put this unfortunate incident into context. As of mid-June we had 11 players here at Baylor University under scholarship. Ten of them were not murdered. That’s better than 91%. And I checked again last night. Everyone is accounted for.”