MU basketball probe coming to a close

Sunday, April 4, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:59 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

After meeting with NCAA officials last week in Indianapolis, MU representatives were told that the investigation into Missouri’s men’s basketball program is wrapping up.

Michael Devaney, the MU engineering professor leading the school’s investigation, said the meeting was an opportunity for the two parties to share evidence and discuss the allegations. It was the second face-to-face meeting in Indianapolis between MU and the NCAA since December.

“I think we are on the downhill slope and we have agreed on a number of issues,” Devaney said. “All in all, it was a very profitable encounter in a series of cooperative interactions.”

During last week’s meeting, which MU requested, investigators dismissed some of the allegations against the team and presented new ones based on evidence and testimony collected by both sides, Devaney said.

Devaney declined to specify which allegations were discussed.

Devaney said the NCAA has not yet sent MU an official “notice of allegations,” which generally outlines what violations the NCAA believes can be proved and gives the university under investigation 90 days to respond.

Although he would not give a timeline for the end of investigation, Devaney said he anticipated an official NCAA infractions hearing would be scheduled in the “near future.”

The NCAA’s investigation began in September and involves allegations that several basketball players accepted cash payments from coaches Lane Odom and Tony Harvey. The NCAA is also investigating whether former Missouri basketball player Ricky Clemons received improper academic tutoring and earned an unreasonable number of summer college credits to attend MU. Neither MU nor the NCAA commented on the allegations investigated.

In August, UM system President Elson Floyd widened the investigation by appointing Devaney to spearhead an independent probe into the men’s basketball program. Devaney’s team was expected to issue a report in December but has failed to do so. Devaney has not said why the report has been delayed, but said the MU investigation team is working closely with the NCAA and is limited by its timeline.

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