College Confidential

Clerical error frees Baylor football signee

Baylor has lost its first February signee from its 2016 signing class in the wake of the firing of coach Art Briles. And it is because of a clerical error.
Baylor has lost its first February signee from its 2016 signing class in the wake of the firing of coach Art Briles. And it is because of a clerical error. AP

The hits keep coming for the Baylor football program, where a clerical error involving the filing of receiver Devin Duvernay’s national letter of intent has freed the standout recruit to sign with another school.

ESPN reported the error, which has been confirmed by Baylor officials and makes Duvernay the first signee from the February class to be granted the chance to sign with another school for the upcoming season.

Based on published reports, seven members of the incoming class have sought to be released from their letters-of-intent in the wake of last week’s dismissal of football coach Art Briles, as well as other Baylor officials, in moves made by the school’s board of regents in response to an investigation into improper procedures used in addressing allegations of sexual assaults by Baylor players.

Duvernay, who was rated as one of the nation’s top receivers out of Sachse, is free to go, ESPN reported, because Baylor officials failed to file the player’s letter-of-intent with the Big 12 office within 14 days of receiving his signature in February. After the 14-day window expires, the letter-of-intent is deemed invalid under NCAA rules.

Baylor officials did properly file the letter-of-intent signed in February by his brother, Donovan Duvernay, who also is one of the Baylor signees seeking to be released from letters-of-intent for the upcoming season.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby made it clear during Wednesday’s news conference at the Big 12 meetings that any sanctions regarding Baylor in this latest controversy will come from the NCAA rather than the league.

“We don’t have any vantage point from which to sanction Baylor,” Bowlsby said. “We are principally engaged in conducting athletic events. It’s hard to find an intersection where we might get involved.”

Bowlsby acknowledged that NCAA officials could get involved with sanctions to the Baylor football program and suggested that it is “a fair point” to raise for players seeking to be released from their letters-of-intent because of a change in football coaches at the school before the signees enrolled.

“There’s no doubt about that,” said Bowlsby, who serves on the NCAA’s national letter-of-intent appeal committee and would have to recuse himself in any cases involving Baylor signees. “Most of the time, coaching changes are considered to be relatively compelling. There’s a side of it that says, ‘Yeah, but you committed to the university, not the coach.’ We know that’s only partially true. So I think this is unusual enough circumstances that that’s a fair question.”  

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