Former Baylor assistant Abar Rouse dropped by CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming documentary, “Disgraced,” which chronicles the murder of former Baylor basketball star Patrick Dennehy and the university’s subsequent attempt to cover up NCAA rules violations. Dennehy was killed by teammate Carlton Dotson, who pled guilty to the crime.
The documentary, which airs Friday on Showtime, includes audio clips of former Baylor coach Dave Bliss mapping out a lie to avoid punishment during a 2003 NCAA investigation.
“I thought it was a story that needed to be told,” said Rouse, who secretly recorded Bliss’ comments. “When you watch the documentary, you will get a full understanding of kind of what I was embroiled in and why the tapes were necessary.”
Dotson murdered Dennehy on June 12, 2003, but the murder did not come to light until days later.
“I went and looked for him in class, and I couldn’t find him,” Rouse recalled. “We kept looking over the weekend, but we thought maybe he had just taken and early weekend. But as time went on, we realized we had no contact with him (since) Friday or Thursday. By Tuesday, we’re kind of in alert mode. We’re searching him out. We’re calling everybody and trying to find him – as low-key as possible. So they didn’t call his parents, but they called everybody else – all the basketball players – to see if he was hanging out with them, if he had taken an early weekend with them.”
“It probably was another 10 days before we got some news that an affidavit had come out,” Rouse said, “and it said that Carlton had confessed to somebody that him and Patrick had been in an altercation in which he ended up shooting him.”
Bliss, who was paying Dennehy’s tuition, fabricated a coverup.
“Coach admits, ‘Hey, what we have to create here is drugs,’ and he starts laying out this story,” Rouse said. “Then it becomes crystal clear. So you guys paid his tuition.”
Rouse, unbeknownst to Bliss, recorded the conversation and gave the tapes to his – Rouse’s – lawyer.
“My lawyer kept them for me as we decided which route to go,” Rouse said. “Were we going to go to law enforcement or were we going to go to the NCAA? We came down on the side of the NCAA because it seemed like law enforcement was not interested in what they thought was just NCAA investigations. But it turns out that’s just not what it was. Because the story that (Bliss) concocted, he wanted the kids to tell to law enforcement. That’s a crime in any book.”
Rouse was the whistleblower in this scandal, and he has paid dearly for it. He’s been black-balled from coaching, as no head coach has been willing to give him a second chance.
“You can’t go through the worst scandal in the history of college basketball – maybe athletics – and come out clean,” Rouse said. “I don’t think that’s at all possible. So it’s unfortunate that I don’t get to coach, but I do get to look myself in the mirror every day and be comfortable with who I am. I get to talk to my kid about morals and values and principles, and I (do) that without batting an eye. I don’t have to worry about that. It’s not on my conscience. I know that I did the right thing.”
Somehow, Bliss, 73, has a job. He coaches Southwestern Christian in Bethany, Oklahoma. Rouse, meanwhile, is still paying for going behind Bliss’ back – even though it was the right decision.
“When you record your boss, naturally there’s going to be people that are hesitant to hire you if they don’t know all of the facts, if they don’t know all of the circumstances that you found yourself in,” Rouse said. “But I will tell you this: Anybody that thinks that you can play around in a murder investigation, anybody that would lead you down a path where you would misinform or mislead not only NCAA investigators but police investigators, they don’t have your best interests at heart. I don’t think that’s the type of leadership you want leading young men. I wasn’t willing to be a part of it.”