The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Baylor basketball program surpasses scandal

By John Garces/sports editor

As the calendar heads into February and college basketball heads toward March Madness, it might be easy to overlook one of the biggest success stories in recent memory.

But if you remember the shocking details of the Baylor basketball scandal that hit nearly five years ago, you should stand up and applaud the program for its quick turnaround, especially this year’s team.

In the wake of the scandal, which saw one Baylor player, Patrick Dennehy, murdered by another, Carlton Dotson, and subsequent allegations of a cover-up by former coach Dave Bliss, the program is on probation until 2010.

That penalty, handed down in 2005, wasn’t the least of their troubles in the wake of the scandal.

Ultimately, the program had to play a shortened schedule of just Big XII conference games in the 2005-2006 season.

But having risen through the ashes of that sordid time in their history, the Bears currently sit 16-3 and on the verge of a possible berth in the NCAA tournament field.

They haven’t been to that tournament since 1988.

The man most responsible for the quick turnaround of the program is Coach Scott Drew, who has routinely brought in Top 20 recruiting classes to Waco, despite the tarnished public image of the school.

Most importantly, though, Drew has preached to his players that there is no obstacle they can’t overcome.

Those words were never truer than when they struggled to a 4-13 record playing that shortened season or when they somehow managed to survive five overtimes with a depleted roster to defeat their bitter rival Texas A&M in College Station a few weeks back.

One day, that game might be looked at as the game that officially ushered in a new era of basketball in Waco.

But it all started with the university’s administrative staff cleaning house and starting from scratch.

Quickly ridding themselves of Bliss, as well as the former chancellor and athletic director, the new regime at Baylor stressed character over athletics as they made their new hires.

If you’re a fan of college athletics, this is the kind of team you should find easy to root for because they represent what the NCAA always preaches is most important.

After all, sometimes the most important victories are the ones that aren’t on the athletic fields or courts the games are played on.

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