Leaders Meet Over Snyder Contract
President Elson Floyd, Athletics Director Mike Alden and university lawyers convened an emergency meeting at 3:30 p.m. of the 10-member Board of Curators, nine of whom called in by telephone. Tom Akins was the only Curator actually present at the meeting.
"This meeting today, the meeting tomorrow is to talk about personnel issues related to the men's basketball program. We hope to have all this resolved before the team plays on Sunday afternoon. The Curators will be meeting on Sunday," said University Communications Director Scott Charton.
The Curators quickly entered a closed session to discuss personnel matters, an allowed exemption to the state's open meeting laws. They will meet again Sunday morning at 9 a.m.
University spokesman Joe Moore said he didn't expect a vote or announcement following the emergency meeting.
Snyder leaves Missouri with a career mark of 126-91 in seven seasons and two years remaining on his contract. His base salary is $190,000, though the amount tops $1 million with shoe and television contracts and performance incentives.
Associate head coach Melvin Watkins, a former head coach at Charlotte and Texas A&M, will coach Missouri (10-11, 3-7 Big 12) for the remainder of the season, starting with a home game Sunday against Kansas State.
Snyder's departure came one day after he publicly declared his intent to finish a trying season that has the Tigers in next-to-last place in the Big 12 Conference with a 3-7 record. After an exhilarating, nationally televised overtime win against archrival Kansas at home, the team has since lost six straight, all by double digits. Public calls for Snyder's ouster reached a fever pitch after the team's most recent loss, a 26-point defeat Tuesday by Baylor, the Big 12's last-place team, which previously had only one win on the season.
Snyder has not spoken publicly about his dismissal, though a Missouri athletics official said he might address reporters Saturday evening. The increased public scrutiny over his uncertain future contributed to Snyder's sudden decision, said Dave Reiter, a men's basketball spokesman.
"What he (Snyder) told us is, it's an opportunity to get back to playing basketball. All the speculation was a heavy burden," Reiter said.
The Kansas City Star reported Saturday that Alden dispatched Tiger basketball radio and television announcer Gary Link to meet with Snyder after the coach's comments Thursday to let him know he'd be fired at season's end. Alden neither confirmed nor denied that account before the curators' meeting.
Snyder, 39, played on three Final Four teams at Duke and, as an assistant to coach Mike Krzyzewski, helped lead the Blue Devils to two more Final Fours. He was hired to replace the retiring Norm Stewart. Snyder's teams reached the NCAA tournament in his first four seasons, including an appearance in the Elite Eight in 2002. But the once-proud program is 42-42 since then, and attendance has plummeted despite a new arena that opened last season. In 2004, it was placed on NCAA probation for three years after more than a year of scrutiny focused on questionable activities surrounding former point guard Ricky Clemons. The school avoided a ban from postseason play but was prohibited from off-campus recruiting for one year.