Baylor Basketball: Year-by-Year Look at the Bears' Progress from NCAA Violations

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Baylor Basketball: Year-by-Year Look at the Bears' Progress from NCAA Violations
Patrick Dennehy, courtesy of

It started in the summer of 2003.

Patrick Dennehy, a transfer from the University of New Mexico, went missing. His father had not heard from him on Father’s Day. He did not show up to a party most thought that he would attend, and his roommate returned from a trip to find that his dog had not been fed.

On June 25, Dennehy’s car was found in Virginia, which prompted a wider search for the young man.

All the while, Carlton Dotson, a teammate of Dennehy, told his cousin that he had shot and killed Dennehy after an altercation while firing guns.

The body of Patrick Dennehy was found weeks later in a pit near Waco, Texas, the home of Baylor University, and Dotson was taken into custody and charged with the murder of his teammate.

However, there was more to the story than just a murder. The Baylor Bears men’s basketball team and head coach Dave Bliss were hiding much more, all of which was revealed after an NCAA investigation.

In the end, the committee found that multiple players were found to be using marijuana and alcohol, a fact ignored by Coach Bliss. In addition, Bliss himself illegally funded Dennehy’s transfer and tuition, against NCAA rules, and, along with some assistant coaches, violated recruiting rules by attending unofficial games.

Following the revelations of these infractions and the fact that Bliss tried to cover up the murder as drug-related, Bliss resigned, and the Bears were faced with one of the biggest scandals in NCAA history.

As punishment, the school placed itself on probation, reduced basketball scholarships to only seven for two years and banned postseason play for one year. On top of that, the NCAA instituted a non-conference season ban for the 2005-06 season, increased the probationary period for the university and further restricted recruiting efforts.

Yet how has a program so decimated by the actions of two men become one of the top programs in the country?

The following is a year-by-year analysis of each season after the 2003 scandal, detailing just how current head coach Scott Drew built a program from the bottom, with the help of some very impressive recruiting classes.

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