Missouri coach Frank Haith previously hadn't said much about Miami booster Nevin Shapiro's allegations in a Yahoo! Sports story reporting the coach knew about a $10,000 payment to the family of then-Hurricanes recruit DeQuan Jones.
But now Haith, little by little, is trying his best to clear his name without going against the NCAA's request that he not make public comments about the issue.
"I did nothing wrong at the University of Miami with our program," Haith told the Columbia Daily Tribune, adding, "It's difficult. It is very difficult. The thing is, this process, it can’t be tried in the media. That’s what the NCAA doesn't want. But it is very difficult because you have many articles that are written about you and that are challenging your character, and you can't defend yourself."
Later, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Haith went on KTRS, Missouri's flagship station, to reiterate, ""First of all...I did nothing wrong at the University of Miami" before offering a reason why he might now be fighting back.
Even so, his denial of the accusation was a public first on a matter that will linger at least until it's cleared up by the NCAA.
For instance, Haith said he is dealing with it constantly when recruiting.
"I don't wait for it to come up. ... It's the elephant in the room," he said. "Everybody knows it, and obviously ... coaches of other schools are using it against us."
Yes, the threat of other programs using Haith's potential recruiting violations against him could be an issue for Haith as he begins his first season at Mizzou. Haith's reputation has taken a hit following Shapiro's allegations, and the coach can't do much to change that for those whose minds are made up. But if Haith allows the negativity to seep into the minds of current recruits, then he's in trouble as well.
So Wednesday was when Haith made his stand with a short, quick-to-the-point denial just so everyone knows it's out there, especially the recruits who might think about becoming Tigers.
Haith can't say much more, of course, unless he wants to go against the NCAA's wishes.