Will this be the winter of Missouri discontent?
MU basketball coach Frank Haith is expected to be charged with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance while he worked at the University of Miami, according to a report by CBSSports.comís Jeff Goodman.
If that happens, a multiple-year show cause penalty could result. A show-cause typically renders a coach unemployable in the college ranks. Former Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl and Indiana basketball coach Kelvin Sampson were hit with multi-year show-cause penalties.
But time and location would create unique circumstances in Haithís case.
Heís no longer at the school where the trouble originated, and when Missouri hired him in April 2011, athletic director Mike Alden had checked with the NCAA for past discretions and was given a green light.
The Miami scandal, which focused on gifts provided by jailed booster Nevin Shapiro, was uncovered in reporting by Yahoo! Sports after Haith had moved to Missouri.
Does that mean Missouri could pay for the alleged misdeeds at another school?
If Haith remains the coach and is tagged with a show-cause order, itís likely he would be prohibited from recruiting. This gets to the purpose of the penalty ó to crack down on the rules violator.
Too often, coaches have skated away from trouble by jumping to another job, leaving the departed school to suffer the consequences of probation.
Haithís case would be different in another way: Previous show-cause penalties were applied after the coach was fired or resigned with the idea that it would make it difficult for a school to hire someone like Pearl, Sampson or former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel. Employ a coach with a show-cause order and you get his personal sanctions.
It probably would be up to Missouri to decide if it wants to keep Haith.
According to a source familiar with the investigation who is not authorized to speak publically, Missouri would be an observer during any hearing for Haith.
If the unethical conduct charges stick, and Missouri wanted to keep Haith, the school likely would have to explain that decision to the NCAA ó why it wants to employ a coach with such a charge ó and live with the handcuffs applied to Haith.
The school also would have the option to terminate Haith based on language in his contract.
This is something of uncharted waters, the source said.
But there are many steps to take in the process. Haith hasnít received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA. In the Pearl case, the notice arrived on Feb. 23, 2011. The Vols reached the NCAA Tournament and lost in its first game. On March 21, Pearl was officially out as coach and Pearl received a three-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA in August.
Whatever the timeline in Missouriís case, the story will remain part of the programís narrative until itís resolved. The Tigers take a No. 22 national ranking in both polls into tonightís home game against South Carolina, and have hopes of competing at the top in their first season in the Southeastern Conference.
But Haithís situation will hang over the team for the rest of a season that started with promise.
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