Boise St. says Ukwuachu's dismissal unrelated to abuse allegations

WACO, Texas -- Boise State officials said in a statement Tuesday that the university never received reports that former defensive end Sam Ukwuachu committed acts of violence against his girlfriend before he was dismissed from the football team in 2013.

Why Ukwuachu was dismissed from Boise State's team -- and what Baylor officials knew about his past before accepting him as a transfer in 2013 -- has come under intense scrutiny after he was convicted last week of sexually assaulting an ex-Baylor soccer player in October 2013.

According to records obtained by ESPN.com from the Texas 54th District Court, Boise State officials were alarmed about Ukwuachu's erratic behavior during his final months on campus. Three days after Boise State's medical director diagnosed him with major depressive disorder, he was dismissed from the football team by then-coach Chris Petersen.

Ukwuachu, from Pearland, Texas, was convicted of sexual assault by a jury on Friday, and Texas 54th District Court Judge Matt Johnson sentenced him to 180 days in jail, 10 years of felony probation and 400 hours of community service.

In the statement Tuesday, Boise State officials indicated Ukwuachu's dismissal was unrelated to allegations of violence against his then-girlfriend, a former track and field athlete at the school.

The school also said federal student privacy laws prohibit officials from releasing information about what led to Ukwuachu being dismissed from the team.

Ukwuachu's former girlfriend testified during his sexual assault trial that he punched her in the head several times, choked her, physically restrained her from leaving and had a reputation for having a violent temper. The woman testified that she never told police or Boise State officials about the abuse.

"The incidents and factors that contributed to Sam Ukwuachu's dismissal from the Boise State football team had nothing to do with accusations of any sexual assaults or with accusations that he physically assaulted any women," the Boise State statement said. "Boise State University never received any reports nor had any knowledge of Sam Ukwuachu being involved in any accusations of sexual assault before or during his time at Boise State.

"In widely reported testimony from the Aug. 20 Texas trial, Ukwuachu's former girlfriend stated Ukwuachu hit and choked her while they were students at Boise State. This information about their relationship was not reported to Boise State when the two were students here."

In the statement, Boise State officials said they have requested testimony from the trial and will launch a Title IX inquiry into the allegations.

On Friday, Baylor coach Art Briles said Petersen recommended Ukwuachu to him as a potential transfer student but made no mention of the player's past, other than that he was depressed and had a "rocky relationship with his girlfriend which contributed to his depression."

Peterson, now Washington's coach, said in a statement Friday that he "thoroughly apprised Coach Briles of the circumstances surrounding Sam's disciplinary record and dismissal."

According to Boise State's 238-page file on Ukwuachu that was submitted for trial, Ukwuachu met with Peterson and assistant athletics director for sports medicine Marc Paul on April 8, 2013, regarding a failed drug test and mental health issues. Records indicate Ukwuachu was smoking Spice, or synthetic marijuana, to cope with his anxiety, particularly over his stuttering problem, which led him to have suicidal thoughts. Ukwuachu was given prescriptions for Zoloft, an antidepressant, and Risperidone, an antipsychotic medication.

Ukwuachu was drug tested at least 20 times during his stint at Boise State, including 17 tests in 2012. At least four of those tests indicate they were not random and prompted by reasonable cause or suspicion.

On April 12, 2013, Ukwuachu walked into a crisis center and reported experiencing suicidal thoughts. He checked himself into Intermountain Hospital, a psychiatric and substance abuse treatment facility.

"[Student-athlete] had voluntarily walked in stating [he] had suicidal thoughts & a plan to carry out (hanging)," Paul wrote in his notes. "Was w/ girlfriend @ time."

Ukwuachu received counseling throughout his 72-hour hold and left the hospital on April 14, 2013. On April 25, 2013, Paul met with Ukwuachu's girlfriend to discuss their relationship. She said they had been in an argument but believed their situation was getting better, "but wishes he would retake anger management classes," according to Paul's notes. Paul told her their relationship was scary for a number of reasons.

"We know there [are] issues [including] verbal abuse," Paul wrote. "She acknowledged arguments & name calling/yelling, etc., but refused to elaborate further. When asked if [she] would admit if physical violence occurs, stated [probably] not & quickly added 'but he's much better now & has it under control.'"

At the bottom of his notes, Paul wrote: "NOT Healthy Relationship!"

On that same day, Paul indicates he told Ukwuachu to begin anger management sessions during his counseling.

On May 2, 2013, Ukwuachu's girlfriend claimed they had gotten into an argument because "she spilled a glass of Kool-Aid," and that he said he was going to kill himself. According to Paul's notes, Ukwuachu left their house, drove off and wouldn't respond to phone calls or text messages. A teammate texted Paul to inform him that Ukwuachu was staying with him that night. Ukwuachu later told Paul he was not feeling suicidal but admitted he and his girlfriend shouldn't be together "right now."

During a mental health evaluation the next day, Boise State medical director Vincent Serio diagnosed Ukuwachu with "major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate," according to medical records.

On May 4, 2013, Ukwuachu's roommate called a Boise State coach and informed him that he had been drinking and discussing suicide. Paul sent police officers to the house to take Ukwuachu into protective custody, after a roommate told Paul that he had punched a window and cut his wrist.

According to records, Ukwuachu told a police officer that he was probably going to be kicked off the team and was going back to Texas. He texted Petersen that night and said he wanted to transfer closer to home.

Two days later, Petersen dismissed him from the football team.

On May 20, 2013, according to published reports, Ukwuachu visited Baylor and verbally committed to transfer to the school. He enrolled in classes for fall semester and was accused of raping the ex-soccer player on Oct. 20, 2013.