MU athletic department officials reassured the Faculty Council on Thursday that the school’s response to allegations of rules violations by the National Collegiate Athletics Association was “thorough and valid.”
“We feel good about our responses,” said Sarah Reesman, associate director of athletics services. “We went ahead and admitted that we made some mistakes.”
MU received a notice of allegations from the NCAA in May detailing 42 recruiting violations allegedly committed by the basketball staff between 1999 and 2003. MU admitted in its response to the allegations that head coach Quin Snyder and his assistants violated some NCAA provisions by making too many phone calls and impermissible in-person contacts with recruits.
The university, however, contested charges that the coaches provided excessive transportation to recruits and that former associate coach Tony Harvey paid former player Ricky Clemons $250.
Since the investigation began in September 2003, the Faculty Council has publicly expressed desires to reform MU athletics. Members have said they want to require the athletics department to submit annual reports to the council that update its activities and expenditures. The council also joined the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, a national athletics reform group, last month.
MU athletics director Mike Alden told the council he is “embarrassed” that the basketball program is under an NCAA investigation but expressed relief that no charges of academic fraud had been levied against MU. An ex-girlfriend of Clemons’ told the NCAA at the beginning of the investigation that Clemons had received improper academic assistance from tutors.
Reesman noted at the meeting that, though the NCAA did not charge MU with having a “lack of institutional control” over NCAA rules compliance, the association’s Committee on Infractions may still rule that the school committed the violation.
“How the committee is going to address those issues, we have no way of knowing,” Reesman said. “They will ask us questions about the allegations at the hearing in Seattle (in August).”
After the brief overview of the investigation, Alden announced that the athletics department budget for the 2005 fiscal year will be about $40.5 million, up from its roughly $38 million budget for 2004. The revenue came from increased ticket sales at the new Paige Sports Arena, which seats about 15,000 fans, revenue from increased television appearances by the football team and the Tiger scholarship fund, Alden said.