Support remains after MU’s reply

A 197-page response details 42 potential infractions.
Sunday, July 4, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:49 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The father of an incoming freshman said he still has confidence in the men’s basketball program at Missouri.

Although he said he hadn’t completely developed an opinion on the university’s 197-page response to the NCAA investigation, Daryl Horton said he doesn’t think his son is in a bad program. Horton’s son, Jason, will play point guard for the Tigers next season.

MU’s document comes in answer to the NCAA’s 19-page Letter of Allegations, which was received in May. It detailed 42 potential infractions grouped into 10 categories.

“I don’t have a negative feeling toward (the program) in any way,” Daryl Horton said Saturday in a telephone interview. “If I did, my son wouldn’t be up there. I still feel OK about it. With the recruits they have coming in and the changes that they’ve put in their place, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be anything but positive.”

Marshall Brown, Glen Dandridge and Kalen Grimes join Jason Horton as the incoming freshman for the Tigers.

“I don’t think (the response) was anything new,” Daryl Horton said. “Some of the stuff is, for a lack of a better word, nitpicky or whatever. I guess after the NCAA makes their decision on whatever they want to do, I’ll have a better feel for it.”

Daryl Horton also said he hadn’t spoken to his son specifically about the release of MU’s response and said his son would have called if something of great significance happened. Daryl Horton also said his son doesn’t have any concerns about his decision to commit.

“The only thing I’m concerned about is my son enjoying the college experience up there,” Daryl Horton said. “As long as he enjoys it, as long as he’s getting better as a student and basketball player, that’s all I’m really concerned about right now.

“All the other stuff, I think some of it is kind of minor in nature. I guess that NCAA feels like a rule is a rule, regardless of how you feel about it.”

The possible violations included improper recruiting, gifts and impermissible telephone calls and contacts.

In the response, MU agreed with or will not contest 30 of the allegations but indicated that they were secondary in nature. Two former coaches, associate head coach Tony Harvey and assistant Lane Odom, have resigned because of the investigation.

The NCAA alleged Harvey gave former player Ricky Clemons $250, but MU’s response disagreed with the allegation. Harvey has denied it as well.

“It is notable that in the past, there has been a public indication that Tony disagreed that he ever paid Clemons any money,” said Stu Brown, a lawyer representing Harvey and Odom. “That has been previously stated, and in light of that statement, the university’s conclusions speak for themselves.”

Brown also said the coaches do not feel like they served as scapegoats in the case. Brown did not elaborate on his comment. Both coaches resigned after the release of the allegations.

The response has produced some negative reaction. Mark Dressler, who played for the Tigers from 1980-83, said he thinks it will bruise the reputation of the university.

“It’s a little troubling to me because I know how clean it was when I was playing,” Dressler said. “I think it gives a bad name to the university if these allegations are true.”

Instead of placing the blame solely on the university, though, Dressler said the investigations have come because of the changed atmosphere in college basketball.

“I think it has become a major business,” he said. “It’s not as much about representing your school anymore. At least to the players, I think, it’s: Can I get to the NBA? I think you’re seeing a record number of kids come out early. It’s become about money and making it to the next level instead of representing your school and that sort of thing.”

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