Clemons didn’t cheat, BYU says

Friday, October 17, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:18 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

After three weeks of inquiry, a Brigham Young University investigation concluded Oct. 10 that Ricky Clemons, a former Missouri basketball player, did not cheat on three correspondence courses in summer 2002.

To be eligible for play at MU last fall, Clemons pulled together a two-year degree from Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kan., with 24 credit hours, including nine through Brigham Young’s independent study program, in two months.

Brigham Young examined how Clemons’ tests were administered and whether the university’s guidelines for independent study were followed at Barton County. Allegations from Clemons’ former girlfriend, Jessica Bunge, that he received improper academic help, including answers to exams at Barton County, sparked Brigham Young’s investigation, which began Sept. 19.

Michael Smart, a spokesman for Brigham Young, said Thursday that an official with the university’s department of independent study spoke with the proctor for Clemons’ courses twice.

Smart said Brigham Young rules require that the proctor be screened by the university’s Department of Continuing Education to ensure he or she is an educator without any relation to the student.

Federal privacy rules prevent Smart from identifying the proctor, but he said Brigham Young officials validated that the proctor met all screening guidelines.

The proctor confirmed the student’s identity was verified, the exam was sealed until the student was ready to take it, no unauthorized material was used and the proctor and the student remained in the room for the exam’s entirety.

In his classes through Brigham Young, Clemons received an A in Family Interaction, Bs in Principles of Biology and Human Anatomy. He also made a B in Communication Arts, a correspondence course he took through Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo.

Brigham Young officials also verified the approved personnel from the independent study department graded all of Clemons’ work.

Brigham Young conducted its review without involvement from the NCAA or MU; both institutions are conducting investigations.

The NCAA instigated its examination of the MU basketball program Sept. 24 and said it should be completed by December.

The MU Athletic Department began an internal query focused on Clemons on July 28, but UM System President Elson Floyd expanded scrutiny of Clemons to the entire men’s basketball program when Bunge’s allegations challenged the university’s academic integrity. Floyd appointed Michael Devaney, MU Faculty Council president and electrical engineering professor, to head the investigation Aug. 25.

Although the Tigers dismissed Clemons from the team and revoked his athletic scholarship, he re-enrolled as a general agriculture major at MU in the fall.

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