Mizzou has decision to make regarding Haith
As reports swirl about impending NCAA charges against Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith, the big question is: What will Missouri do if Haith is eventually sanctioned with the dreaded show-cause penalty?
Will Missouri stand by Haith or simply cut ties?
The show-cause penalty is an NCAA order stating that for the duration of that order — in most cases, multiple years — any NCAA sanctions imposed on a coach remain in force if he is hired by another university.
Show-cause penalties almost always effectively blackball coaches from being hired again by NCAA institutions because any school wishing to hire that coach must abide by the sanctions imposed against him, and that school also could face severe penalties if that coach violates the rules of his restrictions.
Former NCAA basketball coaches Clem Haskins, Dave Bliss, Bruce Pearl and Kelvin Sampson all have not coached again in the NCAA after being issued multiyear, show-cause penalties.
The Haith investigation took a dramatic turn on Monday when CBSSports.com, citing an anonymous source, reported that Haith could receive an allegations letter from the NCAA as soon as this week, and that he is expected to be charged with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
Those charges could result in a multiyear show-cause penalty.
CBSSports.com also reported that while the NCAA was unable to prove an allegation from Miami booster Nevin Shapiro that Haith or someone on his staff paid $10,000 (of Shapiro's money) to a family member of former player DeQuan Jones, the NCAA did not believe Haith's account: that payments later to his assistant coaches were for camp money and not to repay Shapiro.
CBSSports.com also reported that Haith will be charged with a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance because of impermissible airline travel funds that were given to the family of two players from a member of Haith's staff.
But Haith's case is different than those of the coaches mentioned above: He already has been hired by another school before a potential show-cause penalty has been issued.
Haith's case is slightly similar to Sampson's. Haith, if reports are accurate, will be charged for violations he allegedly committed at Miami.
Indiana hired Sampson after he was investigated at Oklahoma and the program was put on NCAA probation for recruiting violations. Sampson then resigned under pressure later at Indiana after it became apparent the NCAA would sanction him again — and the NCAA did with a five-year, show-cause penalty — for committing more recruiting violations while at Indiana.
This is where Haith's case differs from Sampson's: Missouri has indicated it was completely unaware that Haith was or would be investigated by the NCAA for his Miami coaching stint when it hired him in 2011. Missouri also has indicated it vetted Haith with the NCAA before hiring him.
Missouri could, in theory, weather the storm and retain Haith even if he is sanctioned. Missouri, though, would have to abide by the restrictions imposed against him, which likely would severely limit his recruiting abilities and those of the basketball department.
Missouri, if it stuck with Haith, also would have to tolerate the constant negative publicity associated with keeping a coach tagged with the NCAA's version of The Scarlet Letter — the show-cause penalty.
That constant negative attention might be too much for Missouri to bear.
Missouri also simply could wash its hands of the matter and fire Haith without cause. But that would be somewhat expensive because Haith is signed through 2017 and Missouri would owe him a $350,000 buyout clause for each year left on his contract.
Missouri also could attempt to fire Haith for cause, citing the part of his contract, which is public record, that reads: ". . . any violation of any policy, role, regulation, constitutional provision, bylaw or interpretation of the NCAA . . . (that) 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 occurred during prior employment of the Employee at another NCAA member institution."
Missouri, for now, has only issued this statement: "The University has been in communication with the NCAA regarding their ongoing efforts related to the University of Miami investigation. Coach Haith and the University of Missouri continue to cooperate fully. However, we are not at liberty to comment further out of respect for the NCAA process."
Haith said Monday on his weekly radio show in Columbia, Mo., "We are in constant conversation with the NCAA, but I'm bound by confidentiality in this process."
This much is known: Even if a letter of allegations is issued to Haith this week, as CBSSports.com reported is likely, it will be months before any possible sanctions are applied.
After receiving the letter of allegations, those involved have up to 90 days to respond in writing before a hearing is scheduled in front of the Infractions Committee. After that, penalties aren't likely to be handed down for four-to-six months.