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Records: MU made calls before Conley left VMI

ESPN.com news services

Missouri's recent transfer might turn out to be null and void.

According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri apparently violated NCAA rules while recruiting Jason Conley, college basketball's 2002 scoring leader.

Double Take?
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also reported Friday that Missouri coach Quin Snyder and assistant coach Lane Odom were "quietly disciplined" two months ago for violating NCAA rules concerning calls to recruits, the same violation the pair could be facing with transfer Jason Conley.

According to records obtained by the newspaper, the Post-Dispatch reported that Missouri filed a report to the NCAA on Feb. 6 that stated Odom had violated the rule five times. The rule limits coaches to calling recruits once a week, but records obtained by the newspaper showed that Odom made more than 50 calls to Ricky Clemons between January and April of 2002.

Clemons, then sophomore at the College of Southern Idaho, committed to play for the Tigers April 11 and helped Missouri advance to the second round of this year's NCAA Tournament this year.

The school told the NCAA that it discovered the violations Jan. 30, and Missouri suspended Odom from recruiting for five weeks. Snyder, who also made calls to Clemons during that time, was disciplined for three weeks.

Missouri faculty athletics representative Carl Settergren noted Snyder's "lack of oversight to ensure appropriate record keeping for the men's basketball logs" in a letter to the NCAA.

According to the report, Snyder, Odom and Clemons' names were blackened out in records provided to the newspaper by the school, but each was identifiable by descriptions of their activities.
-- ESPN.com news services

Citing phone records obtained through public records laws, the newspaper reported that before Conley left Virginia Military Institute two months ago to transfer to Missouri, members of Mizzou's basketball staff calls Conley's mother's cell and office phones at least six times. According to the documents, these calls occurred before Conley told VMI he wanted a release to talk to other schools.

If the NCAA or Missouri officials confirm that coaches talked with Conley or his mother, Karyne Conley, before Jan. 4, it will be in violation of NCAA rules against tampering with other schools' players. According to the report, the ramifications could affect Conley, next year's Missouri basketball team and the university.

Missouri was the first school to call after VMI released Jason Conley on Jan. 4, his mother told the media. And by the time other coaches heard Conley was released, he had already visited Missouri and became a Tiger five days later.

"If, in fact, (the calls) were made, that's a violation and Missouri should be held accountable for it," VMI athletics director Donny White told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden told the newspaper Wednesday that he didn't know about the phone calls but that the school "will absolutely look into that."

According to the documents obtained by the Post-Dispatch, these were the calls to Karyne Conley's cell phone or office phone:

  • Dec. 26, 31: From the desk of MU coach Quin Snyder.
  • Dec. 31: From assistant coach Lane Odom's mobile phone.
  • Dec. 30, Jan. 2: From the desk of Lee Rashman, director of basketball operations.

    Snyder told the newspaper in a telephone interview from the Final Four site in New Orleans that his program "did nothing wrong" while recruiting Conley.

    "Any calls that we made were in response to his mother looking for guidance with what they were going to do," Snyder told the newspaper.

    Odom declined to discuss the calls, referring questions to Snyder. Rashman, meanwhile told the Post-Dispatch that there might be "some confusion" about the calls from his phone.

    "I'm thinking that those calls were made by someone else in our office," Rashman told the newspaper.

    Conley told the newspaper Wednesday that he hadn't spoken with Missouri coaches before Jan. 4, but wasn't sure with whom his mother might have spoken.

    "She knows a lot of people, and I think it got around that I was kind of unhappy" at VMI, Conley told the Post-Dispatch.

    Conley, a 6-5 guard, has enrolled at Missouri as a transfer but is not eligible to begin playing for the basketball team until December.

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