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Mike Alden vows for change after Dorial Green-Beckham dismissal

Friday, April 11, 2014 | 9:17 p.m. CDT
Missouri athletics director Mike Alden speaks at a news conference Friday after the football program dismissed Dorial Green-Beckham from the team.

COLUMBIA — Dorial Green-Beckham is no longer a part of the Missouri football program and won't be a part of the program in the future. 

Green-Beckham, who was suspended indefinitely by the team Monday, was the suspect in an alleged burglary early Sunday morning, but Columbia police announced Thursday that he would not be arrested because the victims declined to press charges. On Friday, Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel decided to dismiss Green-Beckham from the team, a decision athletics director Mike Alden supported. 

"Respect, responsibility and excellence are the values we have as a university, and we compare everything we do against that," Alden said in a press conference Friday. "When we see actions take place that are inconsistent with what we expect to represent this institution, then we have to address that."

Green-Beckham's latest run-in with police comes after two marijuana-related arrests in his first two seasons with Missouri. He's the latest Missouri athlete to have a run-in with police, but he's not the first. 

Earlier this week, Zach Price was dismissed from the Missouri basketball program after being arrested on assault charges. In March, four Missouri student athletes — two football players and two basketball players — were arrested and suspended for marijuana possession. In 2010, Derrick Washington was dismissed from the football team, and in 2011, Michael Dixon was dismissed from the basketball team. Both were accused of sexual assault.

The leaders of these programs have not been exempt. In 2011, Pinkel was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Basketball coach Frank Haith spent the first five games of the 2013-14 season suspended for NCAA violations. 

Add the findings of the independent review of Missouri's handling of the Sasha Menu Courey allegations, and a troubling pattern seems to have developed around Missouri athletics.

"I think I want to say it’s coincidence," Alden said. "I think it is, because over the course of the time that I’ve been here, I’ve never seen this concentration of a number of athletes like this off the field. I’m thinking it’s a coincidence, but we’re not going to sit back and just think it is. We’re going to take a hard look at it, and we’re going to make sure we’re addressing it head on consistently as we go forward."

In Green-Beckham's case, the victims told police that they declined to press charges against him because of his standing as a Missouri football player — he was ranked the No. 1 recruit in the country in 2012 by Rivals.com and led Missouri with 59 catches and 12 receiving touchdowns in 2013. Alden insisted that Missouri's coaches had no contact with the victims to pressure them not to press charges.

"I don't know if that directly says anything about the athletic department," Alden said. "It may. I would hope it wouldn't, but it may. I think in itself, it may be saying something about these types of issues nationally.

"It raises your awareness. It makes you continue to be cognizant and continue to be sure you're being completely transparent and always completely talking with your people about doing the right things."

After initially suspending Green-Beckham indefinitely Monday, Alden met with every  coach and athlete involved with the athletics department — beginning with Green-Beckham on Monday — to reinforce the core values of the university.

"The logo never comes off," Alden said. "It never, ever comes off."

Alden also said the athletics department will have an outside group review Missouri's student conduct policies, compare them against other schools and make suggestions about where Missouri can improve. 

"We've hit it pretty aggressively this week," Alden said. "We're taking it head-on."

Alden could not say whether Green-Beckham would have the opportunity to continue as a student at Missouri, just that he would no longer be a part of the football program going forward.

Having only been in college for two seasons, Green-Beckham is not eligible to enter the NFL Draft until 2015.

If Green-Beckham were to transfer to another Football Bowl Subdivision school, he would need to sit out a season before being able to take the field because of NCAA rules. However, Green-Beckham could transfer to a Football Championship Subdivision school and play immediately.

For now, Green-Beckham is the face of an athletics department that has been mired in off-the-field incidents. He's the latest example of a Missouri athlete going against Alden's standards. Alden repeatedly said Friday that the majority of athletes at Missouri are doing the right things, but negative incidents such as Green-Beckham's have become more prominent for Missouri's athletics department lately. 

"Do I believe we have a few kids in particular over the course of the last couple of months that have done things inconsistent with our values? Absolutely, and that is unacceptable," Alden said. "But do I think that's a cultural problem that we have in our program? No, I don't."

Supervising editor is Erik Hall.


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