Just when the drama surrounding Ricky Clemons seemed to be finished, another twist in the story has emerged.
Ryan Wolf, a former coach at Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kan., has been indicted by a federal grand jury on suspicion of providing illegal financial help and false academic credentials to athletes. The list of athletes includes former Missouri point guard Clemons and Randy Pulley, who was brought in to replace Clemons.
According to court documents, a member of the MU coaching staff notified Wolf that Clemons had signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Missouri but needed additional college credits to become eligible. The name of the staff member is not given in the court documents.
Missouri coach Quin Snyder had little to say about the case or the potential problems it may cause for the Missouri basketball program.
“This is a matter between BCCC and the grand jury. I do not know any of the details, and it would be inappropriate for me to comment,” Snyder said.
After hearing from the Missouri coaching staff, Wolf then facilitated Clemons’ admission and enrollment into BCCC for the summer of 2002, the documents said.
During that time, Wolf arranged for Clemons to take 24 hours of college credit. Clemons received 12 hours for courses taken at BCCC, three hours for correspondence courses through Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo., and nine hours for correspondence courses through Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City.
The court document said some of the courses were paid for with Wolf’s personal credit card. The document then goes on to say Clemons received help with academic papers.
“From time to time, as part of his course work, Mr. Clemons was asked to write papers on topics of his own choosing. The papers were then provided to the defendant who told Mr. Clemons that the defendant’s wife would fix them (the papers),” the document claims.
The courses through BYU and Adams State required tests to be supervised by a proctor. Wolf is accused of asking BCCC employee Lyle Lashley to proctor Clemons’ tests and sign the supervisor’s section of the examination coversheets. The indictment says Wolf would then “take care of the rest including mailing documents to BYU and Adams State.” Clemons’ attorney, Aaron Ford, said his client did not take part in any fraud.
“Mr. Clemons obviously, from our perspective, didn’t receive anything that was not allowed under the rules,” Ford said by phone from Dallas. “My client isn’t guilty of any type of fraud as it relates to any issues of whatever the coach got involved in.”
Clemons was booted from the Missouri basketball program after serving 60 days in a county jail for assault and false imprisonment. Clemons’ claims that coaches at Missouri gave him money led to an investigation conducted by the NCAA, which could not confirm the allegation.
The NCAA did find the school violated recruiting rules and punished Missouri with three years of probation, the loss of scholarships and a one-year ban on off-campus recruiting.
U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren said the indictment was unrelated to the allegations Clemons made about Missouri.
Pulley transferred to BCCC from Saint Louis University after taking 21 hours of credit and receiving a 1.0 GPA. To become academically eligible to play basketball for BCCC, Pulley needed 24 hours of credit with a GPA of 2.0 or above.
During the summer of 2002, Wolf enrolled Pulley in six hours of course work at BCCC. Pulley received grades of “A” in all three courses, bringing his GPA to 2.0.
Pulley attended BCCC for the 2002-03 school year. During the year, Wolf told Pulley that he did not need to attend classes but Pulley received all A’s and one C, the indictment says.
Pulley then signed to play basketball with Missouri and played part of the 2003-04 season for the Tigers.
Pulley is now enrolled at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Ark., but is not playing basketball because of the NCAA’s requirement that transfer students must sit out at least one year. Arkansas Tech sports information director Larry Smith said the school has red-shirted Pulley.
Randy’s mother, Sally Pulley, still lives in Pulley’s hometown, Raleigh, N.C., and was surprised when she heard of Wolf’s indictment. She said she thought Wolf would be a good coach who would get her son to improve his grades and have him focus on basketball.
“We trusted him as far as taking care of our child,” Sally Pulley said. “He was a tough, hard-nosed coach and that’s what Ran needed. One of the games he even sat him out because he wasn’t focused.”
Pulley’s mother said her son was referred to Barton by the coaching staff at Saint Louis University.
The Associated Press and Missourian writer Zach Ewing contributed to this report.