Fans deal with sanctions

Thursday, November 4, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:46 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Many Tigers fans breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday after hearing the penalties the NCAA imposed on the Missouri men’s basketball team.

At Harpo’s, a downtown Columbia bar, Missouri basketball fan Matt Hawkins discussed the situation with a friend.

“I thought it was going to be much worse,” Hawkins said.

He said he expected the program to be found at fault for many more violations, including paying players and academic fraud.

The three-year probation, recruitment restrictions and loss of scholarships seemed fair, but he said he has sympathy for the coaches.

“I understand they were trying to build the program,” Hawkins said. “Every university does it. We just got caught.”

Ben Roudenis, an MU graduate student, said avoiding the one thing most fans feared makes the sanctions tolerable.

“As long as we have the option to play in the postseason, I don’t really care,” he said. “It’s not going to make a difference in who comes and plays for us. Even though they try to affect recruiting, if someone wants to come play for us, they’ll come play.”

Most chose to look ahead.

Jen Voelkl, an MU junior and Zou Crew member, said the sanctions won’t change her allegiance.

“You gotta stand by your team,” she said. “It’s not the players themselves that were at fault. I don’t cheer for the coaches, I cheer for the players.”

Hawkins said the most important thing is that the team gets ready for the upcoming season.

“It’s behind them now so let’s go forward,” Hawkins said. “It crushed them last year.”

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