Campus Corner

MU's Mike Alden says he’s concerned by NCAA misconduct

Missouri athletic director Mike Alden was out of the country last week on business, but he kept a close eye on the developments in the NCAA’s investigation of the University of Miami.

Alden, who was in Columbia on Tuesday for the announcement of a major donation to the athletic department, said he was as surprised as anyone about the NCAA’s admission of improper conduct by its own enforcement staff on the case.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before in my tenure in college athletics,” said Alden, who was with Nike on a 12-day tour of Asia. “So I certainly think it raises lots of questions. I appreciate the fact the NCAA has come (out) and (is) addressing it, and we’ll have to see how it plays out.” reported last Monday, through an anonymous source, that Missouri men’s basketball coach Frank Haith was expected to face NCAA charges for unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance following the NCAA’s investigation into imprisoned booster Nevin Shapiro’s allegation that Haith was complicit in a $10,000 payment to high school recruit DeQuan Jones.

The same source also told that Haith’s assistants at Miami — Jake Morton, Jorge Fernandez and Michael Schwartz —were expected to receive unethical conduct charges. But Schwartz was told last week that he will not receive a notice of allegations from the NCAA.

NCAA president Mark Emmert has put the Miami investigation on hold while the organization explores the depths of its own improper conduct. According to the NCAA, its staff gained information for the Miami investigation through the bankruptcy proceedings — information that would not have been accessible to the NCAA otherwise — with the help of Shapiro’s lawyer.

It’s not known what information in the case was obtained improperly, but the NCAA can’t bring forth allegations using information its investigators should not have obtained.

Alden, who was at Marco Island, Fla., on Sunday for the mid-winter meetings of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, said the NCAA was a hot topic among his peers.

“Based upon the conversations I heard taking place yesterday with other athletic directors in these meetings I was in, certainly there’s a significant amount of concern, nationally, relative to the integrity of the process, the transparency,” Alden said of the NCAA and its enforcement staff.

“Now, how that impacts other institutions or us or whatever, time will tell. But certainly we’re just going to have to continue to monitor.”

Alden said Emmert was present at the meetings in Florida. Alden declined to go into detail about what they spoke about, and when asked whether he had a sense of whether the NCAA’s timeline for completing its own investigation of its enforcement staff was accurate — Emmert said he hoped it would take one to two weeks — Alden said he did not.

“I don’t know, I don’t have a feel on that one way or the other, and I did not ask that, either,” Alden said.