COLUMBIA — This week's biggest Missouri sports story did not involve an event that took place on the field of play. The story that captured the most attention this week was the off-court actions of Missouri guard and last year's Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year, Michael Dixon Jr. On Thursday, Dixon announced that he was transferring from Missouri after reports surfaced that a woman had accused him of forcible rape in 2010. That report was revealed two days after another woman tweeted that Dixon had sexually assaulted her in August.
Dixon has been cleared of any criminal charges, but he can still face ramifications from the accusations. A reinterpretation of Title IX has urged universities to take stronger action against students accused of sexual assault or sexual harassment. The university is not allowed to comment on whether a particular student is being reviewed by the conduct board. However, Noel English, director of MU's Equity Board, said that the board would only have to find that it was more likely than not that the sexual assault occurred in order to take action.
Despite the off-court drama surrounding the Dixon story, the season will go on as planned. On Saturday, the Tigers played their first game since Dixon announced his decision to transfer. Missouri took the court at Mizzou Arena against Appalachian State and won 72-56. The Tigers were led by forward Laurence Bowers, who tied his career high with 23 points.
What others are saying
Joe Strauss for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote an opinion piece on the Dixon incident. In it, he discussed MU's prolonged silence about the accusations as well as head coach Frank Haith's vague answers to questions regarding Dixon's suspension at the beginning of the season. He wrote, "At some point Missouri might exchange walls and moats for clarity and leadership regarding a damaging issue."
Bill Connelly wrote a piece for Rock M Nation focusing on the Tigers, as well as Dixon's, need to move on from the scandal. He noted that the Missouri basketball team is in worse shape without Dixon, but the quality of basketball was not the most important issue anymore. The Tigers have players who can help fill the hole Dixon left, but Missouri needs to make sure no more allegations like this occur in the future.
High school basketball
The Rock Bridge basketball team began itsr season this week. After a 58-44 victory over East High School on Thursday, the Bruins fell to the Christian Brothers College Cadets 58-42 on Saturday at Columbia College.
Hickman began its season with a win in the People's Bank Basketball Tournament at Troy Buchanan High School. The Kewpies were the top seed in the tournament and beat Westminster 66-53 in the final game.
Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has decided to forgo his last season of eligibility and enter the 2013 NFL draft. In a statement released by Richardson, he said, "It’s still not easy leaving Mizzou like this, but I know I’m ready. I really appreciate all of the support I got here at Mizzou, and I know that they will help me and my family with this next step. I’ll always be a Tiger."
Richardson finished the season with 75 tackles, four sacks and three forced fumbles in his 11 games played. Draft analysts have listed Richardson as a potential first-round pick.