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Missouri legislators blame former coach Gary Pinkel for university troubles

Some state legislators want to examine former Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel’s role in campus unrest last fall.
Some state legislators want to examine former Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel’s role in campus unrest last fall. skeyser@kcstar.com

Former University of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel came under scrutiny from several state legislators Wednesday over his role in November’s unrest on the university campus.

According to a report Thursday in the Columbia Daily Tribune, several lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Education on Wednesday questioned Pinkel’s role in the campus turmoil that ultimately led to the resignation of University System President Tim Wolfe.

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At a committee hearing Wednesday with top university officials, Sen. Paul Wieland, a Republican from Imperial, threatened to file a complaint that would launch a formal university investigation into Pinkel’s support of a team boycott in solidarity with the Concerned Student 1950 protests.

Pinkel stepped down as coach at the end of last season because he was dealing with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Before she was charged with assaulting a student journalist Nov. 9 on the University of Missouri campus, assistant professor of mass communications Melissa Click was with protesters when they disrupted the Mizzou homecoming parade on Oct. 10. This

According to the Tribune, Wieland told interim Chancellor Hank Foley at the hearing “that my constituents were kind of concerned that, in their minds, he had held the university hostage and as a reward the university gave him a contract for a million dollars over three years.”

Foley, according to the Tribune, responded by saying “the situation that developed last fall (referring to the football team boycott) won’t happen again … it just can’t happen again the way it happened.”

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The Tribune said Foley defended the package that will pay Pinkel $950,000 over three years. Pinkel’s final coaching contract guaranteed him $4.02 million.

“In a sense, you could argue that he was kind of bought out of his contract for what is comparatively much, much less than he could have had if he had just stayed on the job,” Foley said in the Tribune’s report.

Pinkel was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Meanwhile, Melissa Click, the assistant University of Missouri professor caught on video calling for “muscle” to remove a student journalist from a campus protest last November, said Thursday in an interview with “CBS This Morning” that she was embarrassed by her behavior.

“I believe it doesn’t represent who I am as a person,” Click said in an interview with CBS News correspondent Anna Werner. “It doesn’t represent the good I was doing there that day, and you know, certainly I wish I could do it over again.”

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Steve Rosen: 816-234-4879

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