The day the Missouri basketball program has been waiting for came Wednesday. Mizzou was placed on probation for three years and banned from doing any off-campus recruiting for one year. Missouri was cleared of the most serious allegation, that former associate head coach Tony Harvey gave former player Ricky Clemons $250 in cash. MU will also lose one scholarship next season and two more the season after that. The number of times they can bring recruits to Columbia will be reduced from 12 to nine. The good news for the MU is that they were able to avoid a post-season and television ban. All charges of academic fraud or lack of institutional control were dropped. The investigation began in September of 2003 and concluded this spring when the NCAA announced its findings. The invetigation was sparked after Clemons and a former girlfriend, Jessica Bunge, made a number of allegations that included payments to players, free gifts and academic fraud. An appeal was heard in mid-August and since then the University has played the wating game. A formal close to the ordeal was expected in mid-October, but the NCAA’s busy schedule delayed the announcement until this afternoon.
Thomas Yeager, chair of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions said Wednesday, “Although the case does not involve findings of sensational recruiting violations, it none the less, is a very serious recruiting case. The violations found by the committee were numerous, calculated to gain an unfair recruiting advantage and in many instances accomplished that mission since a number of highly-recruited prospects eventually enrolled and competed at Missouri.”
Names of those players were redacted in the findings. At the Reynold’s Alumni Center Wednesday, President Elson Floyd, Chancellor Brady Deaton, Athletic Director Mike Alden, head basketball coach Quin Snyder and Michael Devaney, who spear-headed the internal investigation, met with the media to discuss their response to the NCAA’s decision. While MU accepted the punishment and will not appeal, the opinion of intent is somewhat disputed. Snyder referred to the violations as “errors” and “administrative oversights.” Alden backed Snyder, calling him a coach of “unquestioned integrity.”