Bliss reportedly told players to lie

THE BALTIMORE SUN

WACO, Texas - Before he resigned as Baylor University basketball coach, Dave Bliss directed players to provide investigators with false information indicating that slain teammate Patrick Dennehy had paid his tuition by dealing drugs, according to conversations secretly recorded by an assistant coach.

"What we've got to create here is drugs," Bliss said in one of the conversations, which were taped by assistant coach Abar Rouse with a concealed microcassette recorder on July 30-31 and Aug. 1.

The tapes also reveal that Bliss knew some players smoked marijuana and that Baylor coaches weren't truthful when they made public statements indicating they had no knowledge of threats allegedly made against Dennehy by Harvey Thomas, the heralded junior-college recruit who arrived in Waco in late spring.

Rouse, who joined the coaching staff June 1, made the tapes available to the Star-Telegram yesterday, shortly before he met with an NCAA enforcement official and Baylor's investigative committee. The group was set up last month to look into allegations of wrongdoing related to the payment of Dennehy's tuition and other issues.

Reached at his home late last night, Bliss said he had been trying to "share some of the stories that I had heard, and I was completely wrong in what I did. But the bizarre circumstances painted me into a corner and I chose the wrong way to react."

Bliss met with the investigative committee for more than two hours last night on campus.

Kirk Watson, counsel for the Baylor investigative committee, said the committee members were stunned by what they heard on the tapes.

"These tapes are evidence of a desperate person trying to cover up his activities," Watson said. "Clearly, he was encouraging embellishment ... to try to cover himself."

Watson added: "I believe the [committee's] recommendation will be that these tapes be turned over to the proper authorities to determine whether a criminal violation took place."

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