Baylor Regents Release Statements Regarding Men's Basketball Investigation

February 26, 2004

Baylor University Regents Jim Turner and Wes Bailey released the following statements today, regarding the Baylor men's basketball investigation:

STATEMENT FROM JIM TURNER - Baylor Regent Says He Is Disheartened to Have Been Misled About Contribution

One of Baylor University's most prominent supporters says he is disheartened and angered that he was misled by former coach Dave Bliss in late 2002. Responding to a report prepared by a Baylor Investigating Committee, Jim Turner said today that Bliss told him that a $50,000 charitable gift solicited by Bliss for the Houston Superstars Foundation did not violate any NCAA rules. The donation request and subsequent delivery of two checks to Bliss for presentation to the Foundation are noted in the Investigating Committee's final report regarding possible NCAA violations within the school's men's basketball program. This incident is one of seven violations involving former coach Bliss and the men's basketball program at Baylor noted in the Investigating Committee's report.
Turner said that both he and his company, Dr Pepper Bottling Company of Texas, donate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to charitable and youth groups and that at the time of the request by Bliss, it appeared to be a routine request for support of an organization in line with his long-time commitment to support civic and charitable organizations.
After being assured by Bliss that the donation and Bliss' involvement with the organization were not in violation of NCAA rules, he wrote two checks to the Houston Superstars Foundation. Turner noted that the Foundation request was treated in a routine manner.
Turner said, "We have a 20-year history of supporting youth athletic programs. The Houston Superstars Foundation was a 501(c) (3) organization, and we were assured that the donation was proper under NCAA rules. The Foundation appeared to fit our guidelines and mission statement as far as its qualifications to receive the money. No one informed us that Mr. Bliss should not have been soliciting money for this organization. Dave Bliss was aware of my long-time commitment to support youth athletics, and I feel that I was taken advantage of. We work hard to make sure our contributions in the community are done in the right way."


"In the spring of 2003, former coach Dave Bliss asked me and my father, who is also my business partner, to each make a $1,500 contribution to the Houston Superstar Foundation, a non-profit organization that coordinates summer basketball programs for teenagers. Bliss told me that this donation would be in lieu of a contribution to Baylor's Sixth Man club, and while I was unfamiliar with the organization, I relied upon Bliss' recommendation.
"After Bliss came under investigation last year, I, and probably a lot of other Baylor basketball supporters, began examining and rethinking all of my contacts with Bliss. I called a member of the Investigative Committee to ask if this request from the coach should be a topic for the committee's examination. I had no idea whether this information was pertinent to the inquiry.
"Later I learned that under NCAA rules, the coach should not have been asking for money for this group although the contribution itself was legal by IRS standards. Of course, I detest the fact that our family was unknowingly used, and I am committed to my work as a Regent, to make sure the Athletics department operates ethically and honestly."