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A Fascinating True Crime Story about a Bizarre Murder at Baylor University
15 March 2017 | by (Austin, TX, United States) – See all my reviews

Disgraced was well-received in its world premiere at Austin's SXSW Film Festival. The film explains the complex issues around the tragic disappearance and ultimate death of Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy. The events that led to the arrest and conviction of one of his teammates – Carlton Dotson - are complex and remain confusing since there was little explanation of that player's motivation. The director and his team did an excellent job of laying out the details of that multi-layered investigation.

The web events that played out was complicated and ultimately led to a NCAA investigation of rules violations by Coach Dave Bliss and others. These included extensive allegations that Bliss – likely backed by boosters – paid player tuition and expenses. The director does an excellent job of dissecting this complicated true crime investigation. It reveals a pattern of extensive corruption at the heart of the world's largest Baptist University (which has continued recently with the cover-up of a massive sexual assault scandal). It is clear that Baylor University put winning ahead of the rules of amateur college athletics. As someone who has taught college athletes in Texas, I have to wonder if Baylor was worse than other college or just more careless so that they got caught? I suspect that Baylor may merely be one of the worst offenders in a deeply corrupt system. This is powerful film that asks may important questions about these tragic events and more broadly about the nature of college athletics. It has been picked up by Showtime so it should be widely seen by a wide audience and hopefully adds to a wide debate over college athletics. Oh, by the way, Baylor is #3 seed in the NCAA tournament announced this week.


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