UM system President Elson Floyd expanded the university’s investigation of Ricky Clemons to include the entire men’s basketball program Monday.
Floyd appointed former MU Faculty Council President Michael Devaney to take over the inquiry begun July 28 by the MU Athletic Department.
Until now, the investigation has been handled internally by the athletic department and centered on former MU basketball player Ricky Clemons. Floyd said Monday that allegations of academic improprieties prompted the expansion.
“Over the last eight months the athletic department has been looking into a series of allegations,” Floyd said. “The most recent allegation, however, has to do with the academic integrity of the institution. That’s at the heart of what we do as a university, so I thought it was important that we have appropriate faculty representation.”
Clemons pleaded guilty in April to misdemeanor assault against then-girlfriend Jessica Bunge. He was removed from the team July 22 after violating his parole by attending a party at Floyd’s house on July 4.
Bunge told The Kansas City Star on Aug. 11 that Clemons received improper gifts from MU athletic department personnel, including men’s basketball head coach Quin Snyder. She also said that athletic department tutors completed assignments for Clemons and that he received test answers in advance.
Snyder has said he gave Clemons shoes and a pair of sweatpants. The NCAA is investigating the allegations.
The controversy surrounding Clemons took a new turn on Aug. 19, when the FBI seized 28 hours of taped phone calls Clemons made while in jail. UM spokesman David Russell denied any connection between the FBI action and the expanded investigation.
Devaney, a professor of electrical engineering, will take over the investigation from MU Athletic Director Mike Alden. Floyd cited Devaney’s reputation and performance on the faculty council as reasons for his selection.
Devaney said Floyd’s request was unexpected, but after a brief conversation Monday morning, he readily accepted the job.
“I could say I was surprised, but on the other hand, I was kind of thinking the same thing, that someone from the academic community should be involved,” Devaney said.
Devaney will visit the UM General Counsel’s office today to discuss the full details of his role. Floyd said that the new inquiry would build on the progress made by the athletic department probe.
Alden told The Associated Press that he supported the involvement of outside investigators, and had discussed the move with Floyd as well as with Snyder on Monday in his first formal meeting with the coach in several weeks.
“The significance is that it adds another academic perspective to the review,” Alden told The AP.
Devaney is already familiar with athletic department oversight. As faculty council president, he presented a council resolution calling for external involvement in suspensions of student athletes convicted of felonies.
The resolution argued team-performance-based contract incentives for athletic department officials could create a conflict of interest during suspension proceedings. The recommendation, also supported by Floyd and MU Chancellor Richard Wallace, was implemented by the UM Board of Curators in April.