Probe: AD didn't send messenger to encourage ouster

Updated: March 17, 2006, 1:19 AM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Investigators have concluded that Missouri athletic director Mike Alden did not send a radio announcer to fire former coach Quin Snyder, although the message delivered by Gary Link was far more specific than Alden has previously acknowledged.

An 11-page report released Thursday says Link, a broadcaster who also is a special assistant to Alden, told investigators that "Alden gave him no directive or order to talk with Snyder" on Feb. 9, hours after Snyder told reporters he would finish out the season.

The investigators, former U.S. Attorney Jean Paul Bradshaw II, of Kansas City, and Lebanon Daily Record Publisher Dalton Wright, both Missouri alumni, were asked by University of Missouri system President Elson Floyd to look into events surrounding Snyder's resignation.

Missouri was 10-11 and 3-7 in the Big 12 Conference when Snyder quit on Feb. 10. Snyder, who did not speak with the investigators, has said he believed Link was sent by Alden to tell him he either needed to quit or be fired at the end of the season.

Link's version of events in the report was consistent with the details offered by Snyder at his Feb. 14 farewell press conference. But Alden reaffirmed an earlier statement that he merely asked Link to "see how Snyder was doing."

The report indicates the relationship between Alden and Snyder had been rocky since the coach began his seven-year stint with the Tigers.

Snyder "would resist public appearances and other activities in which Alden thought he should participate," the report said.

By October, before the start of what would become Snyder's final season, the coach avoided his boss as much as possible, "canceling or not appearing" at meetings after Alden and Deaton rejected Snyder's request for a public show of support and a commitment to honor his contract through 2008.

Snyder's resignation was official Feb. 14, when he and the university agreed on a $574,000 contract buyout that was approved by curators.

His total compensation package at Missouri, including incentives, was worth more than $1 million a season.

The report noted that Snyder was encouraged to resign at midseason more than a year ago. Before this season, Alden told Snyder that in order to keep his job, he needed a winning season, a finish in the top half of the Big 12 and he must make it to the NCAA Tournament.

Missouri (12-16, 5-11) finished the season in next-to-last place in the Big 12 and missed the postseason for the first time since 1997.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press