A Boone County assistant prosecutor who was quoted in a review of an upcoming book that criticizes Missouri’s athletic tutoring program told The Star on Thursday that a reference to a “sexually charged environment” was not her opinion.
“I’m talking about what I learned from (female tutors) and what I was told and that was basically what they were telling me,” said Andrea Hayes, who helped prosecute former MU running back Derrick Washington, who was convicted of the 2010 off-campus sexual assault of a former MU athletic tutor.
“I never had any information that this was something that the University of Missouri was aware of and was turning a blind eye (to), or that tutors and athletes had went to anyone in charge and complained.”
A review of “The System, The Glory and Scandal of Big Time College Football”by Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel includes a quote from Hayes in the book
. It reads: “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.”
On Thursday, however, Hayes said she disagrees with the notion of the tutoring program being “a joke” and added that the quote was taken out of context. She said was interviewed by Sports Illustrated’s Jeff Benedict, a co-author of the book with 60 Minutes Sports’ Armen Keteyian.
“I had no first-hand knowledge of that, so my quote should have been attributed to what I was being told by the individuals involved in my case.”
Hayes, however, stopped short of saying she didn’t believe what she was told by female tutors during her investigation of Washington.
“What I learned in working the case is that in this instance, people were having intimate relations, consensual intimate relations, and it just so happened that my victim was not involved in that,” Hayes said. “It came out at trial that my victim was not sexually active.”
But Hayes said she doesn’t believe consensual relations that occurred between tutors and athletes at Missouri were uncommon for a college campus.
“You can’t get away from the fact that anytime you put males and females and athletes together, there could potentially be a problem,” Hayes said. “In any kind of school, there’s always the possibility that people are going to become intimate and that there’s an issue.
“I can’t say that I don’t think there are problems with tutoring programs. I think that would be unfair of me to say because this happened in the tutoring program and I do think, you know, that unfortunately, there are girls in this for the wrong reasons, and there are athletes who take advantage.”
Perhaps that’s why, Hayes said, MU made an attempt to limit improper athlete-tutor relations, including making tutors sign agreements that limited what they could do with the athletes.
“For example, they couldn’t transport athletes, they couldn’t even bake them cookies,” Hayes said. “On that end, the University of Missouri set parameters in place what was going on in my case was talked about amongst a group of peers, not to that higher level.
“It never came up, for example, that they only had hot girls” in the program “or you had to be a girl or you had to have these special features or the better athletes got better girls I mean,nothing
like that,” Hayes said.
After the case, which resulted in Washington’s conviction and a four-month stay in jail, Hayes said she learned Missouri did its own investigation of the program.
“I’ve heard they did look into the program and that they found this to be an isolated incident,” Hayes said.
On Tuesday, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden told The Star thatthe school reviewed
the tutoring program and found that “overall, the program is well-run” and that it’s “a positive environment.”
When asked if she was comfortable with the school’s contention that it was an isolated incident, Hayes said that because she isn’t affiliated with Missouri, it’s not her job to have an opinion on that one way or another.
“We’re separate, I don’t consult the University of Missouri,” Hayes said. “I have to say though, another positive thing is that they weren’t involved with me. I never felt any pressure from the University of Missouri, and my witnesses, my victims — no one — had any pressure from the University of Missouri, and I really appreciated that. That was great.
“I had the information I had, and what I had were people telling me about the environment of the tutoring program, and that’s what precipitated the events that happened in the case I was prosecuting.”