Frank Haith’s credibility as the MU men’s basketball coach has taken a hit. Combine that problem with Haith’s previously unimpressive win-loss record on the court, and his continued employment in Columbia is in doubt.
Haith’s problems are tied to the latest scandal to engulf big-time, big-money college sports, which appears uncontrollable by anyone, including university presidents and the NCAA.
A Yahoo! Sports investigation found that a University of Miami booster, Nevin Shapiro, had provided Miami's athletes with gifts, cars and sex parties. Among the allegations was Haith, Miami’s coach for seven years, who supposedly knew that one of his players had inappropriately received $10,000 to attend that school.
An NCAA investigation into this mess could take months, putting Missouri officials in an uncomfortable position with Haith, who gets $1.5 million a year.
Ease Haith out now, and he could collect millions in severance before ever coaching a game at MU. Stick with Haith, and the university could get a black eye if an NCAA probe confirms the Yahoo! Sports allegations.
Earlier this month, Haith basically told his bosses at MU that he didn’t know Shapiro.
But Yahoo! Sports published two photos of Haith with Shapiro, including one event where Shapiro reportedly gave $50,000 to Miami’s basketball program. And then there were the 85 phone calls or text messages over five years between Haith and Shapiro that the website found.
Haith’s apparent attempt to mislead MU officials will give athletic director Mike Alden more reasons to give up on his new coach.
Another option remains: Haith could resign, take a small payout and let Missouri try again to get a good basketball coach.
In the sordid world of college sports, of course, that’s probably a pipe dream.
Copyright Kansas City Star. Reprinted with permission.