MU football staff, hostesses quiet about recruiting policy

A new resolution calls for a review at each Big 12 school.
Friday, March 19, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:57 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 3, 2008

Although Big 12 Conference officials are publicly expressing concerns about the state of recruiting practices, Missouri football officials are keeping their concerns private.

With problems in the Big 12’s athletic programs mounting, its presidents and chancellors passed a resolution a week ago that will ask every school to do a thorough evaluation of their recruiting practices.

Members of the MU football program are no longer commenting on the state of recruiting practices with the team and have asked hostesses to do the same.

Problems at Colorado started questions

Allegations of sexual assault and recruiting parties at Colorado have caused many programs to independently evaluate what they do, but the resolution asks that every program do an evaluation.

The assessment will also work at the conference level. The conference’s standards of conduct for athletes outside of athletic events are the focus of that review.

At Missouri, the mandate comes a few weeks after it began a self-imposed review of its program, focused on the Tiger Hostess program. The appraisal has led to the banishment of all off-campus activities for hostesses and recruits.

Tiger hostesses are the young female students asked to host football recruits when they arrive for official and unofficial visits. Their duties consist mostly of taking potential recruits on tours of the campus and sitting with them at football games.

An internal review

Mark Alnutt, the director of football operations, said a few weeks ago that the team would be doing its review of the program regardless of what is going on elsewhere.

“What's going on in Colorado doesn’t have to do with our organization," Alnutt said. “We want to constantly evaluate what’s going on. If none of this was going on we would still be evaluating ourselves and trying to do things the right way.”

Alnutt said Missouri is also looking at how the player hosts conduct themselves with recruits.

Every recruit that takes an official visit to MU joins a player with whom he has something in common. Many times the players are from the same town or play the same position.

A set schedule

When a player arrives at Missouri, his schedule is set from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Alnutt said what happens after that is out of his control.

“Our guys know they represent everyone,” Alnutt said. “We just tell them to be socially responsible.”

Jenny Goncher, a former Tiger hostess, said people often ask her about her relationship with recruits, but she said she never had a problem with any of them.

“The athletes and the coaches were always very respectful of the hostesses’ wishes and the recruits’ wishes,” Goncher said. “I don’t think any of the girls felt any pressure.”

Missourian reporter Justin Jarrett contributed to this report.

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