NCAA inquiry will continue

Friday, December 5, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:59 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

As soon as MU Chancellor Richard Wallace was notified that the NCAA was starting its investigation of the Missouri basketball program Sept. 25, the countdown to its conclusion started.

The investigation was expected to finish by December, but the NCAA announced Thursday it is extending the preliminary fact-gathering stage of its inquiry.

For UM System President Elson Floyd, no news is good news. After meeting with the NCAA on Thursday, he said he feels better about allegations that former Missouri guard Ricky Clemons received improper academic help and gifts of cash and clothing from the MU Athletic Department.

“Personally, I feel much better about there not being a possibility of any academic violations having occurred, but we need to wait and see what the NCAA says,” Floyd said.

Floyd, Athletic Director Mike Alden, Associate Athletic Director Sarah Reesman and university counsels Marvin E. “Bunky” Wright and William F. Arnet met with NCAA enforcement officials for about two hours at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.

Although Floyd said he saw Thursday’s meeting in a positive light, the investigation’s conclusion is uncertain.

NCAA spokeswoman Kay Hawes said she couldn’t comment on time frame for the study’s completion because of investigation policies.

“We hope to bring closure to this as soon as possible, but the length of the current stage of the review is not unusual,” Alden said. “MU will continue to cooperate fully with the NCAA as this process continues.”

Clemons’ ex-girlfriend, Jessica Bunge, made the allegations that prompted NCAA officials to look into whether MU violated NCAA regulations.

After more rumors of academic dishonesty, Floyd on Aug. 25 launched a university investigation, choosing Michael Devaney, an MU electrical engineering professor, to head it.

Clemons, who served a 60-day jail sentence for misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment and third-degree assault, was dismissed from the team in July.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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