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Athletic director Mike Alden defends MU’s tutoring program

Updated: 2013-08-28T06:02:45Z

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

Missouri athletic director Mike Alden on Tuesday defended the Tigers’ athletic tutoring program, which is criticized in a chapter of an upcoming book “The System, The Glory and Scandal of Big Time College Football.”

A review of the book by Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel includes a quote from Andrea Hayes, a Boone County assistant prosecutor who worked on the trial of former MU running back and team captain Derrick Washington, who was convicted of the 2010 off-campus sexual assault of a former Missouri athletics tutor.

“Too many tutors were having sex with the athletes,” Hayes says, “and really filthy conversations were going on between players and girls. It was a sexually charged environment. It was a joke — the whole tutorial situation.”

Alden, who was speaking at the Kansas City Tiger Club, said he first learned of the book via Twitter on Monday night.

He was asked if that was the first time he’d heard about the existence of a “sexually charged environment” in the program.

“When this issue came up in 2010, there were some comments that were made about that,” Alden said. “I know we reviewed that at that time and found that overall, our mentoring and tutoring program is well run. Again, I think it’s important that if issues arise, you look into them. But at least what we have seen, it’s been a positive environment, a positive culture. That’s what we have seen.”

When asked what changes had been made, Alden said: “It was probably just more of a reinforcement of being respectful to one another and making sure we don’t establish any level of personal relationships when we’re working together. … (It) was more just emphasizing what we had frankly already been doing, but just making sure that we’re raising that awareness.”

The book, which is written by Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict, will be released Sept. 17. Wetzel’s review said the book contains interviews with Washington’s victim, Washington, his parents and key witnesses.

“From a procedure standpoint, I just think we have to monitor what was said and allow the book to come out and then be able to evaluate what the discussion items are inside of the book,” Alden said.

Alden also said he’s pleased with the current state of the tutoring program.

“Academically, our athletes are ranked No. 2 in the SEC behind Vanderbilt, and have one of the best (academic progress rates) and graduation rates in the country,” Alden said. “Our Total Person Program has been one that folks from around the country have come in and seen and tried to take ideas from, so I think we’re very proud of the leadership of Bryan Maggard, of Joe Scogin — who is now at Tennessee — and Tami Chievous, who now oversees the program. Really, overall, everything we’ve seen out of that has been good.”

Washington, a graduate of Raymore-Peculiar, served four months in prison and played last season at Tuskegee, where he rushed for 1,679 yards and 14 touchdowns and was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which recognizes the best player in Division II.

The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff contributed to this report. To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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