Tigers cut ties with Clemons

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

P School revokes scholarship of suspended player.

By Scott Charton ~ The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Ricky Clemons, who is serving a jail term, on Tuesday was permanently removed from Missouri's basketball team.

Athletic director Mike Alden told reporters he visited the Boone County Jail earlier Tuesday -- more than two weeks after a circuit judge cancelled a less stringent sentence in a halfway house -- to tell Clemons his athletic scholarship was revoked.

Alden declined to give a specific reason for dumping Clemons, 23, saying that was confidential.

But he said Clemons violated an agreement he co-signed in April with Alden and basketball coach Quin Snyder laying out standards of conduct while the athlete was on a one-year suspension from the basketball team.

He was suspended in April after pleading guilty to holding a woman against her will in his Columbia apartment in January. The woman alleged Clemons choked her.

When Clemons was suspended, Alden said Tuesday, "there was an agreement that we had -- we were going to do certain things academically, we were going to do certain things socially, and if in fact we deviated from something like that, then we would have to re-address the situation, and so with that, that's exactly what happened."

After his guilty plea, Clemons was serving a 60-day sentence in a halfway house, allowing him to go out during the day for school activities. But late on July 4, Clemons was injured near the home of University of Missouri President Elson Floyd when he wrecked an all-terrain vehicle.

Floyd said Snyder had asked him to befriend Clemons, and that the athlete had called Floyd's wife, asking to visit the president's residence on Independence Day. Floyd said Clemons told the couple he wasn't due back at the halfway house until 10:30 p.m. -- but he was supposed to report back by 5 p.m.

Clemons spent several days in the hospital with a punctured lung, broken ribs and lacerations.

On the Monday after the holiday weekend, Boone County Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton ordered him to serve the rest of his sentence -- at the time, 42 more days -- in the county jail.

Clemons reported to jail on July 13, within two hours of his release from the hospital.

Alden said more than two weeks had passed before Tuesday's actions by the athletic department because Alden had been on vacation and because Clemons was hospitalized.

"If Mizzou is guilty of trying to do everything we possibly can to help a student, then we are guilty as charged," Alden said. "I would hope we would never give up on anybody."

Alden said Clemons could have returned for a final season with the Tigers had he successfully completed that suspension.

Clemons sent word through jailers that he didn't want to talk to reporters Tuesday. His attorney, Wally Bley, declined comment.

Snyder was in Florida and did not return a call seeking comment.

Alden said he didn't know whether he and Snyder owed Floyd an apology for putting the president of the 60,000-student university system in an embarassing position.

He said Floyd wasn't consulted about the decision to kick Clemons off the team and revoke his scholarship.

A junior college transfer, Clemons scored 14.2 points per game last season -- his first with the Tigers. He led Tigers with 112 assists in 32 games, but struggled late in the season with turnovers and shot just 10-of-47 (21.3 percent) in his last five games.

Asked what he had to say to Clemons' victim, Alden replied that "there's a lot of victims."

"We've tried to advocate giving everyone a benefit of the doubt and trying to be sensitive to everybody's issues," Alden added, "and I would hope that everybody involved with this, whatever victims there are that are involved with this, and certainly there are a few, that they would learn from the process and hopefully be able to move on."

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