Missouri University's men's basketball program was placed on NCAA probation this week.
Sixteen years earlier, Kansas University's men's program was slapped with a similar penalty.
How do the two compare?
The only similarity is the probation length -- three years. The sanctions are different.
Most notably, Kansas was prohibited from participating in any postseason tournaments in 1988-89. That made KU the only school in NCAA history prevented by probation from defending the men's basketball championship.
However, no postseason sanctions were levied against Missouri. Mizzou did lose three scholarships -- one for next year and two for the following year -- while Kansas lost only one grant-in-aid. Also different were the sanctions on methods used for recruiting.
No off-campus recruiting
Missouri coach Quin Snyder and his staff are prevented from doing any off-campus recruiting for one full year. They cannot visit high schools, they can't make home visits, they can't attend summer camps, and they're forbidden from giving speeches at high school awards banquets.
No such limitation was placed on first-year Kansas coach Roy Williams.
On the flip side, however, Williams was not allowed to bring any recruits to Lawrence for one full year -- a penalty that has not been inflicted upon Missouri.
|NCAA probationMissouri: Three years.Kansas: Three years.Scholarship lossesMissouri: Three (One in 2005-2006, two in 2006-2007)Kansas: One (For 1989-90)Campus visits by prospectsMissouri: No penalty.Kansas: None for one year.Staff recruitingMissouri: No off-campus contacts for one year.Kansas: No penalty.PostseasonMissouri: No penalty.Kansas: Prohibited during 1988-89 season.Outside representativesMissouri: Not applicable.Kansas: Three unnamed reps of school's athletic interests disassociated.|
In a nutshell, Missouri coaches will not be able to leave campus to recruit, while Kansas coaches could not in 1989 pay for a prospect's visit to Mount Oread. KU also was told it must sever ties with three unnamed persons who were representatives of the athletic department's interests. All of Missouri's infractions were determined to be in-house.
Focus on one player
Each of the probations revolved primarily around one player. At Missouri, it was point guard Ricky Clemons, who accused former assistant coach Tony Harvey of paying him $250. At Kansas, the focus was Vincent Askew, a shooting guard who had transferred from Memphis State (now Memphis U.)
Askew came to Lawrence in the summer of 1986 with the intention of transferring, but he returned to Memphis that fall and re-enrolled. According to the NCAA, Kansas -- Larry Brown was the head coach in '86 -- made "improper recruiting inducements totaling at least $1,244" to Askew.
The bulk of that money, it was later revealed, was for plane fare so Askew could go back to Memphis and visit his ailing grandmother. Ironically, the NCAA now maintains a bereavement fund that provides transportation money in such instances. That fund did not exist in the summer of '86.
However, not all of the KU violations involved illegal payments to Askew because the infractions committee said it "made additional findings of improper recruiting inducements, contacts and transportation related to the recruitment of this prospective transfer student-athlete, as well as one finding of improper entertainment for a different prospective student-athlete."
Kansas did not contest the penalties, in large part because school officials were breathing a sigh of relief after the NCAA declined to inflict the "death penalty."
KU's football program had been hit with sanctions in 1983, and any school that has major violations within its athletic department in a five-year period can be forced to drop a sport for a year or longer.
Kansas escaped the death penalty, the committee wrote, because:
- The violations, while serious and calculated to obtain a recruiting advantage with one highly visible transfer student-athlete, were isolated to a 10-day period, and the investigation revealed no other serious violations in the basketball program.
- The basketball program was not involved in the 1983 infractions case and the football program ... was not involved in this case.
- The compliance, educational and monitoring programs, which need further strengthening, can best be established through a lengthy period of probation.
Bob Frederick, KU's athletic director at the time, pointed out in 1988 that "the violations occurred during the summer and fall of 1986 and that none of the principals involved in the violation are employed by the university today."
KU bounced back
Williams, an obscure assistant coach at North Carolina, took over for Brown, who had left in the summer of 1988 to become head coach of the San Antonio Spurs. The Williams-coached Jayhawks struggled to a 19-12 record that included an eight-game losing streak in 1988-89, but the probation was a distant memory the following season when Williams guided the Jayhawks to a 30-5 record.
That 1988-89 campaign is the only season in the last 21 that Kansas has not made the NCAA Tournament. During that span, KU has won one national title (1988) and appeared in NCAA Final Fours in 1986, 1991, 2002 and 2003.
No Missouri men's basketball team ever has reached the Final Four.