Council considers athletics guidelines

Clemons’ dismissal highlights the value of writing new rules, a professor says.
Friday, August 1, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:25 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

MU’s faculty council discussed a resolution on Thursday that would support the NCAA’s attempt to crack down on problems within collegiate athletic departments.

The document, developed by the University of Chicago in conjunction with the Big 12 Conference, recommends ways schools can improve their athletic reputations.

Among other things, it encourages schools to avoid a so-called “arms race” among head coaches, referring to the ever-increasing salaries, it asks them to restrict at-risk athletes from competing in their freshman year, and it suggests limiting the more commercialized aspects, such as corporate branding and logos.

“I think we have a very good (athletics) program here,” said Gordon Christensen, professor of internal medicine in MU. “But we are part of a prominent conference, and there have been some issues across the conference. We hope that by establishing these principles we can avoid problems in the future.”

The timing of these recommendations, coming just a week after Ricky Clemons’ dismissal from the MU basketball team, was not related to that incident, Christensen said, because this effort began beforehand.

However, he feels those events highlight the rationale behind why they might be beneficial.

“I think (the Clemons case) adds some energy to continue this, because it obviously raises questions and issues that are addressed by the statement,” he said.

The athletic department is eager to examine and implement the document, MU athletic director Mike Alden said.

“Mizzou could be a leader in the Big 12,” Alden said. “This is a very positive thing.”

Alden stressed that the potential effectiveness of the document would only be reached if the recommendations are adopted on a wide scale. The Big Ten, the Pacific 10 and the SEC have all adopted similar documents, a trend he said he would like to continue.

“The key to this is that the schools act in concert on this — these aren’t things that a single school can do unilaterally,” said Sarah Reesman, MU associate athletic director. “If we can move conference by conference, like we are doing, these could be very positive actions.”

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