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Clemons repeats he took money

Wednesday, March 17, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:50 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ricky Clemons, a former Missouri basketball player, reaffirmed on an HBO show Tuesday night that while playing for the Tigers, he and two former teammates received cash from coaches Quin Snyder and Tony Harvey.

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RICKY CLEMONS says he received cash from coaches Quin Snyder and Tony Harvey.

“I never got more than $500 at a time,” Clemons said in an interview with James Brown, a correspondent for HBO’s Real Sports. “I never kept up with it. I just received the money.”

Clemons also told Brown that Arthur Johnson and Rickey Paulding were given cash handouts as well.

“They had a bill, like a rent payment, that had to get paid,” Clemons said. “Coach Harvey paid it.”

Brown asked Clemons why anyone should believe him.

“I’m not looking for people to believe me,” Clemons said. “It’s intriguing now because I’m being portrayed as the bad kid that everybody’s trying to save.”

Brown asked Clemons whether he thought it was wrong to accept money from MU coaches.

“It never crossed my mind,” Clemons said. “It happens everywhere. You don’t talk about it. And you feel like you’re never going to get caught.”

Snyder and Harvey have denied giving money to any of their players.

HBO aired a prepared statement from the MU Athletic Department declining comment on Clemons but saying it is “fully cooperating” with the NCAA throughout its investigation.

UM system spokesman Joe Moore said Tuesday that UM system president Elson Floyd declined an interview with HBO at least two weeks ago, adding that Floyd decided in December against granting interviews about Clemons because of the NCAA’s investigation, which began in September.

“(Floyd) has said everything that he wishes to say on that subject,” Moore said. “We’re of course in the middle of an NCAA investigation, which really prevents any discussion about the men’s basketball team whatsoever.”

Reached Tuesday in North Carolina, Clemons declined to talk about his network cable appearance.

“Did you hear what I said? I don’t want to talk about it,” he said.

Last summer, Clemons was jailed for breaking the terms of his probation for pleading guilty to false imprisonment and third-degree domestic assault.

On Tuesday’s program, he denied choking his ex-girlfriend, Jessica Bunge.

“I just wrapped my arms around her,” he told Brown.

“Her body?” Brown said.

“Yeah,” Clemons said.

Clemons was kicked off the team and lost his scholarship in July. Bunge claimed Clemons frequently picked up money at Hearnes Center and also received improper academic tutoring.

In August, Floyd appointed MU engineering professor Michael Devaney to lead a five-member team to investigate suspected violations. Devaney, who had hoped to conclude the “active discovery phase” of his investigation by the end of February, did not return telephone calls Tuesday.

Clemons said he felt Snyder betrayed him, but asked about his feelings toward his former coach, Clemons said: “I love him to death.”

Said Clemons: “I paid the ultimate price. I lost my scholarship. Going through that, now I know you don’t take money from a coach ... because it’s going to come back to haunt you.”

Clemons said the allegations against him and his former team are “bigger than Ricky Clemons now.”


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