PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Since Frank Haith announced senior guard Michael Dixon Jr.’s indefinite suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules a few weeks ago, the Missouri men’s basketball coach has maintained that he will be the one who decides when Dixon will return.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
But after weeks of rumors and speculation about the true nature of Dixon’s suspension — and despite Haith’s initial insistence that it is not legal in nature or NCAA related — a series of late-night Twitter messages from former Missouri guard Kim English hinted that Dixon’s status may not be in Haith’s hands, after all.
Shortly after Missouri’s 84-61 loss to No. 2 Louisville on Friday, English — who now plays for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons — sent the following message from his Twitter account, @Englishscope24, in defense of his former teammate:
“The Univ of Missouri ‘student board’ is a joke. Acting and making a decision without having actual facts. University should be ashamed!”
Then, a few minutes later:
“Thank God we have an AMAZING chancellor who I trust will make the right decision soon. And do what’s right by reinstating Michael Dixon Jr.”
And finally, this:
“Michael has handled this situation w/ nothing but poise, class and professionalism. Would be awesome if his University would do the same.”
It appears English was referring to the University of Missouri’s Student Conduct Committee, which is made up of faculty members and decides cases in accordance with the school’s standards of conduct in student disciplinary matters.
In such cases, a student who is expelled, dismissed or suspended from the university by the committee can file an appeal, which is sent directly to the chancellor (MU’s Brady Deaton, in this case), who has the authority to overturn the decision. While the appeal is being considered, the chancellor may then allow the student to continue in school.
Still, what remains murky is what — if anything — Dixon possibly did to go before the council. Haith allowed Dixon to travel with the team to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, but he has not provided a timeline for when he could be reinstated.
It’s worth noting that English’s comments on Friday night and early this morning came after Dixon sent a since-deleted message from his Twitter account, @M1keD1xonJR, immediately following the game:
“Our team fought hard. I wish I could b out there helping them. I’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG! Nobody is going to feel sorry for us tommorow. #VCU.”
Haith was not asked about Dixon’s status after the game, though he did tell ESPN’s Jason King on Thursday that he sees the situation as a teaching moment.
“It’s all about teaching,” Haith said. “If I leave him back home, what does that do? I want him to feel (the pain of not playing).”