Not known how Missouri will proceed with Haith situation

BY Eric Holmberg

COLUMBIA — The numerous allegations of NCAA violations surrounding the Miami football and men’s basketball programs detailed in Tuesday’s Yahoo Sports report have had a ripple effect that touches the Missouri athletic department and new men’s basketball coach Frank Haith.

Haith, who was the head coach at Miami for the past seven seasons before being hired by Missouri in April, was named in the report, accused by a former Miami booster of knowing about a $10,000 payment the booster made to a Miami recruit in the summer of 2008.

The NCAA is investigating the allegations made in the report, and on Tuesday night Haith made a statement saying he would cooperate with the investigation.

The question for Missouri is how to respond to the allegations and what course to take if they prove to be true.

On Wednesday, the NCAA did not respond to requests for information about when they will be speaking to Haith. Missouri Athletics Director Mike Alden’s office said he will not be available for interviews and the athletic department’s media relations office had no further comment.

It is not clear what actions, if any, Missouri is considering. But Haith’s contract, which began on April 5, outlines nine conditions that could result in his termination with cause.

The most important clause cites any violation that leads to sanctions against the Missouri program and also includes “any violation which occurred during prior employment at another NCAA member institution.”

If Chancellor Brady Deaton decides Haith violated NCAA bylaws, MU’s punishment could include “suspension without pay or termination of employment.”

If his contract was terminated, Haith would have a chance to state his case at a hearing, should he want one. If a hearing or lawsuit rules that Haith was fired without good reason, he would receive the base portion of his salary — $350,000 — each year until 2016. A lump sum payment could also be negotiated, which would pay Haith less than the $1,750,000 he would be paid over five years.

It is also unclear whether Haith will face NCAA penalties after leaving Miami.

When Kelvin Sampson left Oklahoma for Indiana under the cloud of repeated NCAA violations, he was banned at Indiana from calling recruits and making off-campus visits. However, Kentucky head coach John Calipari has been the subject of multiple NCAA investigations, and has never had sanctions follow him to another school.

Haith was hired about the same time the NCAA launched its investigation at Miami. At the time, Alden proclaimed Haith a character hire. It is unknown whether Haith or anyone at MU was aware of the NCAA investigation.

David Bradley, publisher of the St. Joseph News-Press and a member of the UM System Board of Curators, said the board backed Haith’s hiring on Alden’s recommendation.

“He thought he was a well-qualified guy,” Bradley said. “I hope there’s no truth to the allegations.”

The board of curators is holding a regularly scheduled meeting Friday in Kansas City, but Bradley said he was unaware whether the Haith situation would be added to the agenda.

 — The Associated Press contributed to this report

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