When University of Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden hired Frank Haith, basketball coach at the University of Miami, a great hue and cry arose from many Mizzou fans. Most were hoping for a name hire, one who could lead the Tigers to the Final Four. The dust settled after Alden described Haith as a man having “integrity” and “graduating seniors.” Now comes a story that Haith might have connections to a University of Miami booster, Nevin Shapiro, who gave one of Haith's players $10,000 to attend the school. The buzz spreads far and wide.
www.Thequad.blgs.nytimes.com reports that the scandal could have collateral damage at Mizzou unless the investigation can put him in the clear.
Gary Parrish at www.cbssports.com said that since Haith was never directly involved in the cash exchange, he could say that he never had knowledge of the incident, and that he never asked Shapiro for money. Proving what happened is up to the NCAA.
Kansas City Star sports writer Mike DeArmond reported that Alden checked with the NCAA before hiring Haith last April, but that inquiries would not have revealed an ongoing investigation at Miami. A source said that Alden had received “glowing reports” about Haith.
www.nbcactionnews.com said that Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton made a statement saying that they were never aware of any allegations against the University of Miami sports program, and that no “evidence of an investigation came up during our vetting process.”
Will Mizzou administrators continue their “Faith in Haith” spiel in the face of these allegations, said www.rival.com. Fans were unhappy with the Haith hiring, so letting Haith go would be one way out of the mess, but the timing could not be worse. Finding a new coach at this stage of the game would be difficult, to say the least, and the only way might be promoting an assistant for the interim. The risk in keeping Haith is that more allegations surface
David Heeb of www.bleacherreport.com asked why the NCAA did not tell Missouri, during their vetting process, that Haith’s name was “on file.” Had Missouri known this, they could have asked Haith about any possible connections, and then maybe avoided this matter. Plus the NCAA wants Mizzou to wait before making a decision. Considering how long the NCAA takes, this should not even be a consideration. Should Haith be found guilty, January 22 is not the optimum time to hire a new basketball coach.