Missouri orders new probe into Snyder's resignation

Updated: February 20, 2006, 9:26 PM ET
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- University of Missouri president Dr. Elson Floyd ordered an independent investigation into the resignation of men's basketball coach Quin Snyder on Monday.

Conducting the probe will be Jean Paul Bradshaw, the former U.S. Attorney for the western district of Missouri, and Dalton Wright, publisher of the Lebanon (Mo.) Daily Record.

In a letter to the two, Floyd requested that they determine what was conveyed to Snyder and by whom before the embattled coach resigned on Feb. 10. He also made clear they were authorized to take their investigation in any direction they felt appropriate.

Snyder announced he was resigning on Feb. 10, one day after saying he would stick it out for the rest of the season. He had two years remaining on his contract. Four days later agreed to a buyout of more than $500,000.

But the school has been embroiled in turmoil since, especially after it was reported that athletic director Mike Alden sent assistant Gary Link to tell Snyder he could either resign or be fired at the end of the season -- something Alden at first flatly denied.

Snyder has said he was told he could either leave then or at the end of the season, that he would not be renewed. He said he asked if there was anything he could do to save his job and was told there wasn't.

Alden -- in a prerecorded interview for his radio show -- appeared Monday to back away from his earlier statement by admitting that he had sent Link to see if Snyder might want to "step away" from the job.

Alden, who has been under fire from many Missouri followers, had previously said he simply asked Link to "gauge" how Snyder was feeling after a double-digit loss to Baylor.

In the interview taped for his show Monday, Alden said he now wishes he had not sent Link, who also is a Missouri broadcaster, to talk with Snyder.

"I never would have had Gary Link be involved in this at all. That guy is a terrific guy, a great ambassador for Mizzou basketball," Alden said. "He's a friend of mine. He's a friend of Quin's. When I asked him to go down and talk to Quin following that Baylor game, (Alden asked him to) see how he's doing, see if this is something that he wants to continue to do.

"Does he want to keep coaching? Or does he think that he might want to step away?"

Chancellor Brady Deaton said last week he had investigated the situation and concluded that nothing untoward had occurred. However, some Missouri curators indicated they questioned how thorough Deaton had been and preferred that someone who was not so closely involved look into the matter.

"I have made a suggestion to President Floyd that this be reviewed by an independent third party," Angela Bennett, president of the Missouri Board of Curators, told the Kansas City Star on Friday.

In a letter to curators on Monday, Floyd said that is exactly what will happen.

"Chancellor Brady Deaton and I both agree that final closure must be reached surrounding the decision made by Quin Snyder to step down as the MU men's basketball coach," he said in a letter released by his office.

"Thus, I have asked two distinguished Missourians to undertake a thorough and complete review."

In his letter to Bradshaw and Wright, Floyd was specific in what he wanted to know.

"It is important for the university to determine what occurred on or about the date of Feb. 9, 2006, that precipitated the head basketball coach to meet with the team Feb. 10, 2006, to not be on the sidelines for the game on Feb. 12, 2006, and ultimately resign on Feb. 14, 2006," he wrote.

"Who had those conversations and meetings; what each participant conveyed in the conversations and meetings; and what was ultimately stated and by whom and what was authorized to be stated that led to the resignation of the coach?

"I assure you that any university employee you desire to interview will be made available to you. Further, if during your inquiry you become aware of any matter or issue pertaining to the above matter that you feel needs to be pursued, please do so."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press