Edgar maintains innocence after committee's report

Friday, August 14, 2009
Southeast Missouri State athletic director John Shafer, left, and university president Ken Dobbins listen to a teleconference with the NCAA Committee on Infractions on Thursday afternoon at the Show Me Center. (Kit Doyle)

Former Southeast Missouri State men's basketball coach Scott Edgar continued to profess his innocence Thursday even after the NCAA deemed that he knowingly committed major rules violations.

Edgar expressed surprise and disappointment after the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions announced several sanctions against Southeast for violations in the men's basketball program from 2006 through 2008 when Edgar was coach.

"First of all, I'm very disappointed with the entire process and the sanctions," Edgar said. "I feel the past 17 months my integrity and character, for which 30 years in college coaching were always respected, have been undermined."

Edgar denied being involved in any of the violations or having knowledge of any of the violations.

The NCAA's case against the Southeast men's basketball program during Edgar's tenure involved impermissible extra benefits given to two players that were arranged by Edgar; the impermissible presence of coaching staff members during summer strength and conditioning activities and observations of out-of-season pick-up games; and unethical conduct by Edgar and former men's basketball coach Ronnie Dean.

Former Southeast Missouri State coach Scott Edgar was issued a three-year show-cause period in the NCAA Division I Committee on Infraction's report that was released Thursday. (Southeast Missourian file photo)

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions found that $239 was paid for a player's institutional fees in August 2007.

Failure to pay the fees was preventing the player -- not named, although multiple sources confirm it was Brandon Foust -- from enrolling in fall classes.

In October 2006, a player -- also not named, but multiple sources confirm it was Calvin Williams -- was driven by Dean from the Southeast campus to Memphis, Tenn., so that he could travel to Atlanta to see his newborn child.

The committee also cited Edgar for "unethical conduct for knowing about the program's involvement in NCAA violations and providing false and misleading information to the institution and enforcement staff when questioned about his involvement in and knowledge of possible NCAA violations."

In addition, the committee cited Dean for "failing to act in accordance with the generally recognized high standards of honesty and sportsmanship normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics for his knowing involvement in NCAA violations."

Edgar, who also claimed his innocence last October when the NCAA allegations were made public, claims that his troubles started in late March 2008 when he decided not to retain Dean as an assistant.

"It's a culmination of a March 31, 2008, meeting of when I informed an assistant coach that his contract would not be renewed," Edgar said. "I know the truth. My accuser, who on transcript said he hopes I get fired and was described as a mad and disgruntled employee, knows the truth.

"And I believe [Southeast president] Ken Dobbins knows the truth due to the fact he paid me every dollar of my original five-year contract."

Edgar, who was placed on administrative leave in October shortly before starting his third season at Southeast, was fired in late December, just 2 1/2 years into a five-year contract.

Told of Edgar's comments, Dean said he'd rather not get into a public shouting match with his former boss.

"I'm disappointed, that's all I can say," Dean said. "I don't have any other comments. There's no way I can win with that."

As part of the penalties handed down Thursday, it virtually is assured that Edgar won't have another NCAA job for three years and Dean for one year.

Edgar was slapped with a three-year show-cause period beginning June 30 and ending June 29, 2012. Dean was hit with a one-year show-cause period beginning June 30 and ending June 29, 2010.

NCAA institutions are placed at risk of possible sanctions themselves if they hire somebody tagged with the show-cause designation.

Edgar, who has continued to live in Cape Girardeau with his family since being dismissed by Southeast, said he still hopes to coach again.

"I don't think the final chapter has been written in my coaching career," he said.

Dean said he wasn't relieved to receive just one year of show cause, while Edgar got three.

"I was surprised I got anything," he said.

Dean, who spent the 2008-2009 season as an assistant at Highland Community College in Freeport, Ill., said he will continue in that position for at least one more year but then would like to return to the NCAA Division I ranks.

"I'll wait until I'm cleared [in another year] and then see what happens," Dean said.

In the meantime, Dean, a native of Charleston, Mo., said he will root for the Redhawks and first-year coach Dickey Nutt.

"I'm a SEMO fan, a Dickey Nutt fan," Dean said. "I wish them the best."

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