The recent Yahoo! Sports investigation and scandal surrounding the University of Miami and one of its former boosters, convicted felon Nevin Shapiro, has cast a shadow on Columbia, Missouri, where new University of Missouri men's basketball coach Frank Haith is getting ready to start his first season on the job.
The problem is that Haith, who through last season was the men's basketball coach at the University of Miami, is implicated in the Yahoo! report as having knowledge that Shapiro -- who currently is serving a 20-year federal prison term for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme -- gave $10,000 to Miami recruit Dequan Jones for signing with the school.
Pundits already have called for Haith's job before he's coached a day at Mizzou. Haith was not Missouri's first choice this past off-season, as Purdue's Matt Painter elected not to take the job. Haith already was taking bullets before this happened.
The language of Haith's agreement with Missouri seems to read like the University can legally part ways with him. Under the category, "Termination for Cause," the contract stipulates that Mizzou "shall have the right to terminate the Contract for Employment" for "any behavior of the employee that brings him into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule, or any behavior that is unfavorable to the reputation or moral or ethical standards of the University."
Specifically, the contract accounts for rules violations that "in the sole judgement of the University, reflect adversely" on it, including "any violation which occurred during prior employment of the Employee at another NCAA member institution."
The above may be true, and there is a taint right now on Columbia. That said, before the university acts with any sort of firing, it should allow the NCAA investigation of Miami to play itself out to determine Haith's culpability in the allegations. The school may have the language to let him go now, but I'd think if it acted upon a report, Frank Haith would be sitting on a hefty lawsuit.
Things are dark in Columbia, but unfortunately for Missouri basketball fans, they're going to have to let the slow NCAA process run its course. It's not looking good, but the school and its fans are going to have to take their medicine and sit with the decision to hire Frank Haith, and probably hate it.