MU reviews gifts to Clemons

Snyder says his players weren’t given ‘improper funds.’
Sunday, August 3, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:27 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

The MU athletic compliance office is continuing the investigation it began Monday into allegations of possible NCAA rules violations involving basketball coach Quin Snyder, assistant coach Lane Odom and former team member Ricky Clemons.

Snyder has said he gave Clemons clothes, a possible NCAA violation, while Odom has denied giving Clemons money.

The Boone County Prosecutor’s Office released documents, which included depositions and police reports from Clemons’ case, Thursday.

Clemons is serving a 60-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors for third-degree domestic assault and false imprisonment of his former girlfriend, Jessica Bunge.

In the deposition he gave in March, Snyder said he was cleaning out his locker and gave Clemons a pair of shoes, flip-flops and pants he received from various manufacturers as promotions.

According to Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane, Bunge claimed that Clemons would go into the Hearnes Center and return with cash.

“I did not give (Clemons) money,” Odom said in his deposition to Crane.

“None of our players have ever received any improper funds,” Snyder said Saturday during a phone interview from the Dominican Republic, where he is serving as an assistant coach for the U.S. basketball team in the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo. Odom declined an interview request.

Crane said the questions were intended to establish the closeness of Bunge’s relationship with Clemons. Police seized the clothes Snyder acknowledged giving to Clemons from Bunge’s bedroom closet.

Snyder said he wasn’t aware of any possible rule violations associated with giving the items to Clemons.

“If it is a violation, I wasn’t conscious of it at the time,” Snyder said, “and had I known it was a violation, I simply wouldn’t have done it.”

Clemons received the items because he was around when Snyder was cleaning out his locker, Snyder said.

“Ricky happened to be standing there as I recall,” Snyder said.

It is uncertain whether Snyder’s gifts violated NCAA bylaw, which states an athlete cannot receive any “extra benefit” that is not generally available to the institution’s students.

Sarah Reesman, the associate athletics director of Student Services, said the investigation is ongoing, but declined to mention any details.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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