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Missouri Admits Major Problems During Frank Haith Era

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Former Miami coach and Burlington native Frank Haith is in the spotlight again for what happened at Missouri.
Former Miami coach and Burlington native Frank Haith is in the spotlight again for what happened at Missouri.
Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the University of Missouri essentially passed judgment on the Frank Haith era, vacating the entire 2013-14 season.

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At the heart of it were some boosters. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

  • Level I • Donor involved in a summer internship program in 2013-14 provided impermissible benefits to three athletes and one recruit, including compensation for work not performed, cash, iPads, transportation, meals and use of a gym.
  • Level II • Institutional failure to adequately monitor the internship program related to the Level I violations.
  • Level II • A second donor provided impermissible benefits to 11 athletes and one athlete’s family from 2011-14 involving reduced rates at a hotel, recreational use of a boat and meals. Athletes were transported from Columbia to the hotel by a men’s basketball student-manager.
  • Level III • Former associate coach provided phone number for recruit’s mother to the second donor in order to assist in the relocation of the athlete.
  • Level III • Donor in Level I infraction had multiple impermissible contacts with a recruit and paid for a meal for a summer team coach.
Aside from vacating the 2013-14 season, Mizzou self-imposed a number of other penalties.

Haith's attorney claims innocence and points out that Haith was not (directly) implicated.

That's what his current employers at Tulsa are saying too. A.D. Derrick Gragg said this in a statement:

"Today, I read the details of the NCAA investigation of the men’s basketball program at the University of Missouri, and Golden Hurricane head men’s basketball coach Frank Haith was not named in any of the reports. Coach Haith has cooperated fully with the NCAA during this process and has not been accused of any wrongdoing during his tenure at Missouri."

And when he hired Haith he said this: "He took ownership of something that a staff member of his did (at Miami). I can understand that as the leader of a department, because I’m responsible for everything that goes on here. So I like the fact that he stepped up, took ownership and fell on the sword. There’s honor in falling on the sword."

But the Tulsa paper also says this: 'In his last season at Missouri, Haith was suspended by the NCAA for the first five games. A three-year investigation determined that during his 2004-11 time as the head coach at Miami, Haith was involved in arranging a payment of $10,000 to a booster in an attempt to prevent the booster from revealing violations said to have occurred within the Miami program."

To be clear, that makes two programs in a row that Haith has run which has been greatly damaged. In both cases, subordinates and assistant coaches were blamed.

Here's an excerpt from the NCAA report about Miami:

When the booster began experiencing financial trouble, he requested that the former head men's basketball coach loan him a large sum of money or that the former head men's basketball coach return the booster's $50,000 donation. The former head men's basketball coach denied the booster's request; however, a former assistant men's basketball coach agreed to loan the booster $7,000, which the booster eventually repaid. After the booster was incarcerated in 2010, he began to threaten the former head men's basketball coach and assistant coach and demand money. The committee determined the former head men's basketball coach and the former assistant men's basketball coach worked together to make sure the booster received $10,000 to end the booster's threats.

The former head men's basketball coach was aware of the booster's threats and he took steps to help a former assistant men's basketball coach to make a payment to the booster's mother to end the threats. As the leader of a high-profile basketball program, he had a responsibility to make sure he and his staff followed the rules. However, the former coach did not meet his responsibilities and this conduct resulted in violations. The committee noted that had he asked about the basis of the threats and the former assistant coaches' relationship with the booster, he could have recognized potential concerns or taken the issue to the compliance office.

And heres Haith's former boss Mizzou A.D. Mike Walden:  "We certainly recognize the serious nature of the allegations included in today's report," Alden said in a statement."At Missouri, we take great pride in our conduct with regard to NCAA rules and regulations. During his time here, Coach Haith has been forthright with me and our compliance staff throughout this long process. After all this time, Coach Haith, his family, the University of Missouri, our student-athletes, and our fans, deserve closure. We are extremely excited about the direction of our program and look forward to his continued leadership for our young men. I'm proud to have Frank Haith as our men's basketball coach."