Baylor AD to leave before replacement hired
WACO, Texas -- Tom Stanton, who resigned earlier this month as athletic director at Baylor amid an investigation stemming from the death of a basketball player, will not remain on the job until his replacement is hired.
Stanton announced Tuesday he will step down immediately. David Brooks, Baylor's vice president for finance and administration, will oversee the athletic department until a permanent replacement is found.
Stanton resigned Aug. 8, but had been allowed to stay on until the university filled the job.
Stanton said the strain of the investigation into Patrick Dennehy's death, NCAA violations within the men's basketball program and coach Dave Bliss' attempted coverup of those violations pushed him to step down now.
"These past few months have been the most difficult period of my life," Stanton said in a statement released by the university. "There have been many families that have suffered throughout this ordeal. They have been in my thoughts and prayers. Unfair speculation and innuendo reported in the media have also taken a toll on my family."
Stanton said he would pursue "other opportunities" outside the university. He said, "I will do absolutely everything I can to help with the ongoing basketball investigation."
Stanton and Bliss resigned the same day when Baylor President Robert Sloan Jr., announced the school had uncovered improper tuition payments from the coach to players. Sloan has said Stanton apparently didn't know about the payments, but resigned because they happened on his watch.
Even so, the university had been facing mounting questions as to why Stanton was still on the job.
"The university is greatly indebted to Tom for making Baylor's athletics program one of the top overall programs in the country," Sloan said.
Dennehy, a transfer from New Mexico, was found dead July 25 in a field near a rock quarry in Waco, just a few miles from the private Baptist university where he was last seen in mid-June.
Another player, Carlton Dotson, is accused of shooting Dennehy twice in the head. A judge agreed Tuesday to keep Dotson in jail in his home state of Maryland for up to 60 more days as prosecutors work to extradite him to Texas.
Last week, Bliss admitted that he tried to get players and an assistant coach to portray Dennehy as a drug dealer in attempt to steer investigators away from the payments and his knowledge of Dennehy reporting threats from another player, not Dotson, before he disappeared.
Bliss's coverup attempt was revealed Friday night when assistant coach Abar Rouse gave the Fort Worth Star-Telegram a copy of his secretly recorded conversations with Bliss before meeting with NCAA and Baylor investigators.
"I, too, have been shocked and saddened by the activities of our former men's basketball coach," Stanton said. "I feel betrayed and cannot conceive of how he could have justified his actions. I may never understand it."
Meanwhile, a university official who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity told The Dallas Morning News for a story in Wednesday's editions that Baylor's investigative panel has found indications that the arena's camera system was used to tape opponents' workouts, a breach of coaching etiquette.
The Big 12 Conference administrative manual requires host schools to allow a closed practice the night before a game and a closed shootaround the day of the game.
"No one can view practice, period," said John Underwood, the Big 12 assistant commissioner for basketball. "No media, no fans. It's their team and their coaching personnel."
Laura Collins-Hays, Bliss' former administrative assistant, told the newspaper on Monday that a live feed of a Kansas State practice was shown in the department in January 2002. The investigative committee wants to interview Collins-Hays.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index