When police in Chester-town, Md., arrested former Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson late on Monday, and charged him with the murder of his ex-teammate Patrick Dennehy, a mystery that had engulfed Baylor and at times captivated the nation at last showed signs of a resolution. The 21-year-old Dennehy had been missing since mid-June (SI, July 14), and Dotson had been a "person of interest" in the investigation ever since an affidavit implicated him soon afterward. In that document a police informant alleged that Dotson had admitted shooting Dennehy with a handgun. At SI's press time The Dallas Morning News was reporting that Dotson had confessed to the FBI. According to the Associated Press, however, Dotson said, "I didn't confess to anything."
Even as the news of Dotson's arrest unfolded—Dennehy's body had not been recovered and no new details of the alleged murder had been revealed—Baylor was dealing with less grave, though still unsettling charges that the program had been guilty of potentially serious NCAA violations in its relationship with Dennehy. SI has learned that Jessica De La Rosa, Dennehy's girlfriend and a hurdler at the University of New Mexico, told officials at her school of violations by Baylor coaches, including a large cash payment to Dennehy.
SI learned of the allegations through Dennehy's father, Patrick Dennehy Sr. He says De La Rosa told New Mexico officials that last November, while she waited outside, Dennehy emerged from Baylor basketball offices with between $1,200 and $1,800. She said Dennehy told her the money came from a coach and was to go toward the purchase of a car. While SI confirmed De La Rosa spoke to Lobos officials, she declined to comment According to Dennehy Sr. she also said that a member of Baylor's basketball staff paid a car service to drive her from Waco to a Dallas airport. That allegation was investigated by New Mexico and reported to the NCAA De La Rosa was declared ineligible but will likely be reinstated if she repays the cost of the trip. Baylor coach Dave Bliss and his staff denied the allegations through school spokesperson Scott Stricklin. "This is a difficult time," said Stricklin, speaking before Dotson's arrest. "[But] anytime we get a report of this nature we begin an internal inquiry."
Of course these alleged malfeasances are dwarfed by the murder charges. The worst part about a potential NCAA investigation is that it could linger and be yet another ugly piece of Baylor's strange and awful summer of 2003.