COLUMBIA - Missouri men's basketball Head Coach Frank Haith made national headlines Monday when a CBSsports.com article surfaced saying he was "expected to be charged with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance" by the NCAA.
The allegations date back to Haith's time as head coach at the University of Miami.
The article suggests the possible punishment is a "show cause" penalty which essentially means any sanctions levied on Haith's tenure at Miami would carry over to Mizzou for a certain number of years.
"It's sad to hear it. I hope it all turns out all right, he's a good coach," said MU fan Rick Hebenstreit.
Hebenstreit has followed MU athletics for more than 40 years. He hopes Haith will overcome the reported allegations and stay on as head coach. But MU student Michael Mandell isn't so optimistic.
"I think if what the NCAA is saying is correct, they're gonna have to let him go," Mandell said. "I do think he's gone. Maybe not immediately but by the end of the year."
KOMU-8 News obtained a copy of Haith's contract that he signed in June 2011. One part states, "If the employee is found in violation of NCAA regulations, he shall be subject to disciplinary or corrective action... including suspension without pay or termination of employment..."
It continues, saying Haith can be terminated for cause for "any violation of any policy, law, rule, regulation, constitutional provision, bylaw or interpretation of the University, the NCAA, or the conference, which violation may, in the sole judgment of the University, reflect adversely upon the University or its athletic program, including any violation which results in the University being sanctioned by the NCAA or the conference, including any violation which occured during prior employment of the Employee at another NCAA member institution."
Haith acknowledged the report in his post game news conference Tuesday night following the Tigers' win over the Gamecocks.
"It is tough. It's been a tough 18-19 months. But it's a blessing that it is coming close and that's how I feel personally. There's been no letter written to Frank Haith. My attorneys have not received a letter of any allegations. As of right now there is nothing our way but I do feel and know that we're getting close to the end and that's what's exciting to me," Haith said.
For now, Haith's fate rests in the hands of the NCAA.
"They haven't really proven anything," Herbenstreit said. "Supposedly the NCAA just doesn't believe his story so who knows?"
"I hope the NCAA report is wrong. I think it's unlikely but I think every Mizzou fan is hoping it's wrong right now," Mandell said.
Haith's attorney released a statement to KOMU saying it's all speculation and the NCAA has not made a final decision on evidence involving Haith.
"Until my client, Frank Haith, receives a notice of allegations from the NCAA, the CBSSports.com report is premature. The NCAA's investigation in the University of Miami enforcement case is ongoing. Thus, if the NCAA had completed its inquiry, then Coach Haith would have received a notice of allegations. However, as of the morning of January 22, 2013, Coach Haith has not received the notice of allegations. Any speculation or information attributed to anonymous sources cannot be relied on until the NCAA makes a final decision on the evidence and issues the notice to the University of Miami and any other persons at-risk in the case. It is unfortunate that CBSSports.com's unnamed source believed violating the NCAA confidentiality rules was worthwhile. The report did not advance interests of anyone involved in the case and is making a mockery of what is supposed to be a fair process. Nevertheless, based on the testimony of my client, the media reports of other persons' statements and the voluminous records we shared with the NCAA, any allegations asserted by Nevin Shapiro against my client cannot be supported."
According to the CBS Sports report, "The notice of allegations was expected to be released as early as Tuesday, but a source told CBSSports.com that it could be withheld for another week or two possibly because of procedural questions."
Haith is in his second year as head coach of the Tigers. His career record at MU is 43-8.