Coaches allegedly helped break NCAA rules

Updated: June 25, 2004, 4:58 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The University of Missouri paid more than $136,000 to two basketball coaches accused of breaking NCAA rules in exchange for their resignations and pledges never to sue, documents obtained by The Associated Press show.

Missouri had no legal obligation to pay anything to associate head coach Tony Harvey or assistant coach Lane Odom. Coach Quin Snyder confirmed to the AP that neither had a contract.

The university president's office referred questions about the payments to athletic director Mike Alden. Alden declined comment Friday through spokesman Chad Moller, who said the payments were tied to the NCAA investigation and that Alden is bound by confidentiality rules.

Missouri was told in the NCAA's formal notice of allegations that Harvey and Odom are expected to testify before its infractions committee about the alleged violations.

Stu Brown, an attorney who represents both former coaches, said Friday they are cooperating with the investigation.

Harvey was accused by the NCAA of lying on his expense account to conceal impermissible meals for high school and Amateur Athletic Union coaches, violating recruiting rules and giving former Missouri guard Ricky Clemons $250. Harvey has denied the allegations. Odom was accused of various recruiting violations.

Separate settlements signed by Harvey and Odom said they agreed with the university "that their mutual best interests will be served" by the resignations and agreements not to sue.

In exchange, each was paid in a lump sum that is the equivalent of their salary for the rest of this year.

Harvey, who made $140,000 annually, accepted $73,022.73 for leaving. Odom, who was paid $108,000 a year, received $63,000.

The amounts and supporting documents were disclosed by the university after requests from the AP citing Missouri's Sunshine Law.

Brown said "the payments are appropriate because it is practically impossible to find comparable coaching employment until at least May of 2005," because hiring coincides with the cycles of college basketball seasons.

Moller, the athletic department spokesman, said money for the settlements came from the department's operating budget, which was just over $30 million.

Odom signed his settlement and the school announced his resignation May 12, hours after top university officials announced details of the NCAA allegations. Harvey sent a resignation letter to Snyder on June 18, the same day he signed his settlement.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press