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NCAA, university investigation to continue

12/4/2003 - Missouri Tigers

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- University of Missouri President Elson Floyd said he feels "much better" about allegations of
inappropriate academic help for a former basketball player after a
meeting with the NCAA on Thursday.

But Floyd also told The Associated Press that Missouri hasn't
been cleared, the long-running NCAA investigation isn't over, and
he doesn't know when it will end.

The university and the NCAA have spent months investigating
allegations surrounding former guard Ricky Clemons, including
assertions by his ex-girlfriend that he received improper help with
school work. Missouri coach Quin Snyder has said he had no
knowledge of his former player receiving improper academic help.

"Personally, I feel much better about there not being a
possibility of any academic violations having occurred, but we need
to wait and see what the NCAA says," Floyd said after about two
hours of meetings in Indianapolis with NCAA enforcement officials.

Floyd said he sought the meeting "to get a sense of where they
were, relative to the investigation -- and it's unclear when they
will be finishing their investigation."

The NCAA said in a letter dated Sept. 23 that it was giving
Missouri formal notice of an inquiry already under way for several
months.

The NCAA and Missouri had said they expected the investigations
to be wrapped up by this month, but Floyd said: "We don't know
when it will end."

Under NCAA bylaws, a school is notified in writing "if the
enforcement staff has developed reasonably reliable information
indicating that an institution has been in violation of the
Association's governing legislation that requires further in-person
investigation. ..."

Questions have arisen about how Clemons accumulated 24 academic
credits -- enough to enroll at Missouri from a Kansas junior college
-- during a two-month period in the summer of 2002.

After more allegations related to academics by Jessica Bunge,
Clemons' ex-girlfriend, Floyd took the internal investigation from
the athletic department and handed its leadership to veteran
electrical engineering Professor Michael Devaney, an immediate past
president of the Columbia campus faculty council.

Bunge alleged Clemons choked her in a headlock and held her
against her will at his Columbia apartment one night last January.

Clemons at first denied the allegations, but after the
basketball season ended, he pleaded guilty in April to two
misdemeanors. Clemons was sentenced to a halfway house but was
ordered to complete a 40-day sentence in the county jail after
violating terms of his sentence.

While Clemons was in jail, he was kicked off the basketball
team. He has made no recent public comments about Bunge's
allegations or answered questions about whether he is cooperating
with the NCAA.

The investigations intensified this summer because of
allegations by Bunge that Clemons had also received cash and
clothes while playing for Missouri.

Snyder acknowledged in his sworn depositions that he gave
Clemons a couple of pairs of promotional shoes and pants he
intended to discard. But Snyder said he didn't recall more
extensive clothing gifts and he denied giving Clemons cash. Snyder
has said he is cooperating with the NCAA and internal
investigations.

Floyd said he was joined in the meeting at NCAA headquarters by
athletic director Mike Alden, associate athletic director Sarah
Reesman, and university attorneys Bunky Wright and Bill Arnet.
Snyder did not attend.

NCAA spokeswoman Kay Hawes said she was prohibited from
commenting on "any potential or ongoing investigation."