KANSAS CITY — Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden said Thursday he was embarrassed and “ticked off” over controversy surrounding the university’s basketball program, but disputed reports of a rift between him and coach Quin Snyder.
In a speech before the Tiger Club of Kansas City, Alden said investigations that began after basketball player Ricky Clemons was charged with assaulting his then-girlfriend in January have “consumed” the athletic department for months.
Alden first praised Snyder for building a “very good” basketball program in his 4½ years as coach.
“When we’re building a program like that, the last thing we need to do is make mistakes,” Alden said. “Certainly, mistakes have been made. For us to deny that would just be malarkey.
“Did it tick me off that mistakes were made? Damn right it did.”
He said he thought it was natural for a boss to be upset when problems arise in his department, but he denied reports of a feud between him and Snyder, saying the coach had his “total support.”
“Quin and I together laughed at (those reports),” Alden said. “There is no rift, not at all.”
Snyder was on the road recruiting Thursday and was not available for comment.
Clemons, 23, was charged with felony second-degree domestic assault after he was accused of choking a woman and holding her against her will at his apartment in January. After pleading guilty in April to reduced charges, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail.
Clemons was serving his sentence in a halfway house when he was injured July 4 while riding an all-terrain vehicle near the home of UM system President Elson Floyd. Because he did not have permission to be at Floyd’s home that night, his work-release assignment was revoked and Clemons served the rest of his sentence at the Boone County jail.
He was released July 13, but Alden revoked Clemons’ scholarship and barred him from the basketball program.
The athletic department began internal investigations of several issues, some not involving Clemons, in January. After Clemons’ ex-girlfriend, Jessica Bunge, said he had received cash, clothes and improper academic help from the university, Floyd in August ordered an expanded inquiry of the basketball program and appointed Michael Devaney, a longtime MU electrical engineering professor, to lead it.
The NCAA also is reviewing issues within the athletic department. Witnesses the NCAA interviewed have said it is scrutinizing Missouri’s recruitment of Clemons.
Alden said he had no idea when the NCAA review will end, but said “it could be a long time” because the university prizes accuracy over speed.
He declined to discuss what the NCAA is investigating. He also said he could not discuss why the FBI asked for Clemons’ incoming mail and recordings of telephone conversations Clemons made from the Boone County jail.