Harvey says he did not recruit Clemons

Updated: May 12, 2004, 7:55 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Tony Harvey, the suspended top assistant to Missouri basketball coach Quin Snyder, confirmed Wednesday he is accused by the NCAA of giving former player Ricky Clemons $250, an allegation he denies.

"I have not given Ricky any money, period," Harvey told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Harvey, 37, confirmed that Snyder suspended him with pay until the NCAA proceedings, which could last into the fall, are finished.

The NCAA alleged members of the Missouri basketball staff repeatedly broke its rules. The university blacked out names of employees before releasing the 19-page notice of allegations on Tuesday.

But Harvey acknowledged he was accused of giving cash to Clemons, a troubled point guard who played one season at Missouri before being kicked off the team last summer amid personal legal problems.

Harvey said he found the allegation "amazing," since "I never recruited Clemons. I didn't have anything to do with him."

In an interview Wednesday with the Columbia Daily Tribune, Harvey was critical of Clemons: "From Day One, when he stepped on campus, we didn't see eye to eye. Everyone knew we despised each other. The only thing I ever gave him was havoc."

Clemons was recruited by another Snyder assistant, Lane Odom, who is implicated in some of the NCAA allegations.

On Tuesday, after the NCAA allegations were made public by Missouri, Odom resigned effective immediately, saying he was pursuing "other opportunities."

Harvey and Odom have retained the same attorney, Stu Brown, who said Wednesday both are cooperating with the NCAA. Brown declined to discuss specifics of the allegations.

In media interviews, Clemons and his ex-girlfriend, Jessica Bunge, have asserted the athlete was paid by Missouri coaches.

Told of Harvey's comments, Clemons' attorney, Aaron Ford, replied that his client "of course" was standing by his allegations of receiving money from coaches.

"Ricky Clemons has no incentive to lie about this. It damages him just as much as it damages the University of Missouri. For him to have to lie to prove a point is entirely unnecessary," Ford said in a telephone interview.

Several media outlets have reported that Harvey won't return to the Missouri sidelines.

But Harvey told the AP, "I'm not looking for other employment."

"Any time you have NCAA violations above your head, it's a big shadow," he said. "But I haven't done anything. I am associate head coach and plan on being associate head coach."

Missouri is to formally reply to the notice of allegations by July 1, and the NCAA Infractions Committee scheduled hearings Aug. 13-15 in Seattle.

The NCAA laid out dozens of examples of violations -- some covering multiple alleged offenses -- but did not allege a "lack of institutional control," which could yield severe punishment.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press