TARGET 8: Emails reveal MU season ticket holders' responses to boycott

2 years 3 weeks 5 days ago Thursday, May 26 2016 May 26, 2016 Thursday, May 26, 2016 6:27:00 PM CDT May 26, 2016 in Top Stories
By: Nick Komisar, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Through a public records request, KOMU 8's Target 8 investigative team got ahold of more than 400 pages of emails sent and received by the MU athletic department in the period of time directly following campus protests. In November 2015, some members of the football team announced they were boycotting football until former UM System President Tim Wolfe was out of office.  

The team made the decision to stand with student group ConcernedStudent1950 in demanding Wolfe's resignation stating he had not done enough in regards to racial tensions on campus. 

Emails to athletic department officials show many ticket holders were not pleased with the boycott or Wolfe's resignation. 

In an email addressed to Associate Athletic Director Tim Hickman, Scott Christensen wrote, "I discussed this topic with several others this morning and have decided if ANY of the 1950 movement demands are appeased or met I will pull my season tickets and spend my $$ with another university sports program. It is very dangerous to allow any radical group take a PUBLIC institution hostage for ANY reason."

The emails show Hickman forwarded the message to Athletic Director Mack Rhodes.

Another man sent a similar email to the athletic department.  

Timothy Vaughn wrote that he had a 40-year history with Mizzou Athletics, stating he attends 60-85 sporting events a year.

As the message continued, he wrote that an innocent man losing his job, referring to Wolfe, will cause him to cut ties with the department. 

Vaughn wrote, "I pledge from this day forward NOT TO contribute to the TSF, buy any tickets to a University of Missouri athletic event (even if free), to give away all my MU clothes (nearly my entire wardrobe) after I have removed any Logos associated with University of Missouri logo on it. I have already bought my first Columbia College shirt and printed out their basketball, baseball, softball and track schedule. I might even buy Iowa State tickets next year (Ames is not that far away)." 

Tony Wirkus is the director of event managment from the department, and he sent a woman named Jill Dee an email asking her what size shirt she and her husband wanted. 

Jill Dee and Dan Dee responded saying they do not want shirts because of what happened in the days previous. 

They wrote that as alumni and parents of a current Mizzou student, they are embarrassed about the team and coaches' actions, and as a result they would no longer purchase tickets or merchandise. 

Throughout the hundreds of pages, there are dozens of emails very similar to the former three

However, not all of the emails were negative. 

One man named Clarence "Bucky" McGill wrote an email to department officials stating his support for the team and players. He wrote that he was a part of the 1960 Syracuse University football team and took part in a boycott with other black football players. 

He wrote, "I was so moved by the way the coaching-staff, students, faculty and players seemed to join in great solidarity against obvious racism."

Others showed support for the team by writing emails of encouragement about moving on from a tough situation. 

A large portion of the emails are media requests from TV stations, radio stations, magazines and newspapers across the country. 

The department responded to a lot of the requests with prepared statements, but did not appear to agree to any individual interviews or air-time. 

If you would like to pick through the emails yourself, see below. 

 

 

 

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