Tigers haters hope you sign up

Missouri’s first football season in the Southeastern Conference was less than stellar, with the Tigers finishing 5-7 and missing a bowl game for the first time in seven seasons.

Dissatisfaction over the Tigers’ struggles extends beyond the Show-Me State, apparently. An official White House petition created by a resident of Mobile, Ala., requests the Tigers be banished from the SEC.

Created on March 28, the petition reads: “We petition the Obama Administration to remove Missouri from the SEC for football performance detrimental to the league. Missouri is a disgrace to the league. Do the humane thing and have them removed from the SEC.”

The petition currently has two signatures. To receive an official response from the White House, only 99,998 more signatures are needed by April 27.

— Ryan Hood

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Missouri has the coolest alumnus in the nation

If comparing alumnus was a sport, then Missouri would finally have its first national championship since it won men’s indoor track in 1965.

Sports Illustrated ranked the 68 schools in the upcoming NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Monday by the “coolest person who went there.” Missouri dropout Brad Pitt helped Missouri receive a No. 1 rank (apparently dropouts count in this list).

Pitt attended Missouri from 1982 to 1986 and majored in journalism with an emphasis in advertising. Pitt dropped out from Missouri two weeks before he finished his degree to pursue acting, where he became successful with numerous major movie roles. He is also well known as the husband of actress Angelina Jolie.

There was tough competition from the alumni of the other 67 schools. Pitt had to battle past giant WWE wrestler Big Show who went to Wichita State, Temple’s comedian Bob Saget and action star Sylvester Stallone who went to Miami (Fla.).

Some Missouri fans wanted other famous alumni to represent the school and comments on Sports Illustrated’s website suggested actor Jon Hamm, rock star Cheryl Crow playwright Tennessee Williams or actor George C Scott.

If the Missouri men’s basketball team ends its season against No.8 Colorado State, or its likely next-round matchup No.1 Louisville, Missouri fans can always brag that Sports Illustrated said Missouri has the coolest alumnus in the country.

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Report: Vice President of NCAA approved payment to Shapiro attorney

According to a CBS sports.com report citing unnamed sources, the vice president of NCAA enforcement approved a five-figure payment to one of Nevin Shapiro’s attorneys in order to access information surrounding the University of Miami investigation.

The report says that “enforcement director Julie Roe Lach discussed and approved the disbursement of at least $20,000,” saying that, “the NCAA claimed former enforcement staff members improperly gained information.”

Two weeks ago, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced that there had been “improper conduct” within the NCAA investigators.

“We will not be issuing notices of allegations until after this investigation is concluded so that we’ve got great clarity as to what the nature of the circumstances are,” Emmert said in a statement released Jan. 23. “We want to make sure that any evidence brought forward is appropriately collected and that it has the integrity that we expect and demand.”

The NCAA must throw out all information received improperly.

It was reported by CBS sports.com last month that former Miami and current Missouri coach Frank Haith was set to receive a notice of allegations surrounding his involvement with the now incarcerated Miami booster, listing two allegations.

Whether or not any improper information gained by the NCAA pertains to Haith is unknown.

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Vanderbilt coach apologizes for calling Alabama’s Saban “Nicky Satan”

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin took a shot at Alabama coach Nick Saban at a high school sports banquet in Georgia the other day, referring to him as “Nicky Satan.”

Speaking in Macon, Ga., where one of Franklin’s top commits is a linebacker at Macon Central High, Franklin said, “There’s this guy in Alabama. I think his name is Nicky Satan. You guys have probably heard of him before. I’m going to outwork him. I’m going to outwork him. And that’s kind of our plan every single day.”

On Wednesday, Franklin called Saban to apologize for the name calling. He told The Tennessean his comment was meant strictly as a joke about Saban, who has won four national championships. According to Franklin, Saban told him that he is “good” with the situation.

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Aldon Smith, Justin Smith speak up at Super Bowl media sessions

Aldon Smith accepts the violence of football. He embraces it.

The San Francisco 49ers All-Pro linebacker and former Missouri standout wouldn’t be in New Orleans this week to play in Super Bowl XLVII otherwise.

So despite the many cautionary tales emerging these days regarding the long-term health repercussions of football — repercussions about which President Obama recently spoke — Smith didn’t question his profession Monday during a media session.

“It’s not like we signed up and thought we were going to play tennis,” Smith said.

“It’s a physical game. Everybody plays hard. Guys get hit sometimes and that’s what we all know coming into the game. We all signed up for it. We came out. We’re playing football.”

Smith, voted the 49ers MVP by his teammates, also spoke about his relationship with defensive tackle Justin Smith, another former Missouri player. It goes beyond sharing last names and an alma mater. Justin Smith mentored Aldon Smith his rookie year, and they worked out together during the 2011 lockout.

They also share a “rhythm” on the field. Aldon Smith tallied 19.5 sacks this season — all in the first 13 weeks of the season. Justin Smith missed the rest of the regular season after that with a triceps injury, and Aldon Smith’s production dropped.

So while Justin Smith’s three sacks don’t jump from the stats page, no one doubts his importance.

“It’s attention. He’s a guy that draws a lot of attention,” Aldon Smith said. “He’s a great player and a Pro Bowl guy. With that, if they’re doubling him, they might single me up. Regardless, we’re all getting a lot of attention and one of us will be free or singled up and we’ll take advantage of it.”

Justin Smith returned for the NFC Championship in Atlanta, and though Aldon Smith didn’t get a sack, he disrupted the Falcons’ offense with his constant pressure. Justin Smith expects the same against the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl this Sunday.

“They know when you’re playing a guy like that, he’s going to get more attention, more chipping, he’s going to bring the line over there a little more,” he said. “What the quarterback knows too is that you have to get rid of the ball. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t have a clock that goes off when you’re practicing against a guy like Aldon. The ball has to come out in three seconds.

Justin Smith has admired his younger teammates’ work ethic since the 49ers drafted him, but even he’s been taken aback by Aldon Smith’s quick progression.

“He’s setting records left and right, so I think anytime anybody does that it’s surprising,” he said. “Just his transition into the NFL and how easy he’s made it look, that’s what the great ones do – they make it look easy.”

Justin Smith says his triceps muscle is improving every week but still limits his range of motion when trying to shed blocks (as well as in the weight room). It’s the first time in the four-time Pro Bowler’s 11-year career that he’s dealt with missing a significant amount of time.

“I’ve never really been injured before,” he said. “I usually give guys a hard time in the training room, and now I’m one of those guys. So, a little karma came back to get me I guess.”

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Shapiro attorney speaks out on NCAA investigation

The attorney involved in holding back the NCAA’s investigation against the University of Miami and Missouri men’s basketball coach Frank Haith spoke out against the NCAA.

The NCAA said there were major issues with the investigation because the NCAA had former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro’s attorneys on its payroll.

Miami-based attorney Maria Elena Perez, who represents Shapiro, talked to the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Thursday.

Perez said the NCAA paid her a small amount of money for her service, but she did not consider herself a part of the NCAA’s legal team.

“It establishes that they wanted to pay for certain things to help Shapiro where there were issues of common interest. Period,” Perez told the Sun Sentinel. “There’s nothing wrong with that. They didn’t pay me to get testimony. They didn’t pay me to get a story. There’s a huge difference.”

The Sun Sentinel’s article is a pleasant surprise for those who hate lawyer-talk and jargon.

Perez did not avoid the question or reply with the customary, “no comment” like everyone else involved in this whole mess in the past few weeks. Instead, Perez was “audibly upset,” according to the Sun Sentinel, about the NCAA’s investigation. She said the NCAA did not establish an attorney-client relationship.

“I think this is completely insane,” Perez said. “I think there’s absolutely nothing here to investigate, and like I told everyone, everything I did was above board.”

Then she grew more adamant.

“I’m a spider, and I play by the rules,” Perez told the Sun Sentinel. “And that’s the only way to win. And in this case I did nothing wrong and I was playing by the … rules and I am not bound by NCAA rules, and if they did something wrong, it is their problem and they are trying to make it my problem. This is not my problem.”

No matter who is determined to be at fault, the NCAA says the investigation should be delayed for no more than two weeks. Notice of allegations, if there are any, will not go out until the NCAA’s internal investigation is completed.

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Report says Missouri’s Haith will face NCAA allegations

According to a post on the CBS Sports website, NCAA allegations against the University of Miami could be released as early as this week.
The report claims that an unnamed source close to the situation said the NCAA will charge Missouri coach Frank Haith, who previously coached at Miami, with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
The report also says the allegations could lead to a multiple-year show-cause penalty.
A show-cause penalty is an order from the NCAA that states that for a set period of time, NCAA penalties imposed on a coach involving major rule violations at one athletic program will be enforced if hired by another NCAA athletic program.
In most cases, show-cause penalties end college-coaching careers.
The CBS report said NCAA investigators were unable to prove the allegations made by Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, who claimed, according to an August 2011 report from Yahoo Sports, that Haith or a Miami basketball staff member paid $10,000 to a family member of former player DeQuan Jones.
In spite of this, the CBS report says the Missouri coach will still be charged with unethical conduct because of problems the NCAA found with Haith’s account that payments to his assistant intended for camp money did not wind up going to repay Shapiro. The unnamed source said that the money was delivered to Shapiro’s mother, who verified the payment to NCAA investigators.
Shapiro is currently serving a 20-year sentence for his role in a $930 million Ponzi scheme, and claimed in the Yahoo Sports report that Haith had knowledge of a $10,000 payment he made to assistant basketball coach Jake Morton in the summer of 2008 to secure then basketball recruit Jones, which was then returned following Shapiro’s incarceration in June 2010.
The CBS report also claims that Haith will be charged with a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance because impermissible airline travel was given to the families of players and that there was interaction between Shapiro and players while on visits.
Wally Bley, an attorney representing Haith in the matter, claims that Haith has not received any notification from the NCAA.
Bley said he could not comment on the CBS report because he is “bound by the NCAA to respect the confidentiality of the investigation.” Last week, Bley said allegations made by the NCAA should be “taken with a grain of salt.”
The University of Missouri released a statement Monday night saying that it is aware of the CBS report, and that it has been in communication with the NCAA regarding the investigation.
It stated that “coach Haith and the University of Missouri continue to cooperate fully. However, we are not at liberty to comment further out of respect for the NCAA process.”
If the allegations are officially released and Haith receives a formal notice, he will have 90 days to respond in writing before having a hearing in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, which is operated separately from NCAA investigators.
Universities are permitted to hire coaches who receive the show-clause penalty, but are subject to severe penalties if the coach commits any other violations.
Missouri hired Haith to replace Mike Anderson on April 4, 2011, and Yahoo Sports reported the initial allegations made by Shapiro four months after his hiring.
Haith’s contract states “if an Employee is found in violation of NCAA regulations, he shall be subject to disciplinary or corrective action as set forth in the provisions of the NCAA enforcement procedures, including suspension without pay or termination of employment for significant or repetitive violations.”
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Henson reportedly named Missouri’s offensive coordinator

PowerMizzou.com and the Columbia Daily Tribune reported on Sunday afternoon that Josh Henson has been named Missouri’s new offensive coordinator.

The 37-year-old Henson, who served on Missouri’s staff during the previous four seasons as the team’s co-offensive line coach, had reportedly been offered the offensive coordinator position at Southern Mississippi earlier in the week but decided to remain at Missouri instead.

Prior to joining Missouri, Henson served as a tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Oklahoma State from 2001 to 2004 and held the same positions for LSU from 2005 to 2008. Henson is the only member of Missouri’s coaching staff to have won a national championship, which he did at LSU in 2007.

Since coming to Columbia in 2009, Henson has coached five All-Big 12 performers on the offensive line – Austin Wuebbels, Tim Barnes, Dan Hoch, Kurtis Gregory and Elvis Fisher. Just as importantly, though, he has used his prior recruiting ties to extend Missouri’s reach further into signature SEC states such as Florida and Georgia.

Henson would replace former Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost, who stepped down on Dec. 3 after 12 years at Missouri. Henson, however, will not be the only coach shifting his role next season, according to PowerMizzou.com and Columbia Daily Tribune reports.

Longtime receivers coach Andy Hill will reportedly coach the quarterbacks in 2013, after serving in his previous role since 1996.  Hill also played receiver at Missouri from 1980 to 1984. His reported move would leave a vacancy at the receivers coach position, and Bruce Walker would likely have the sole responsibility of coaching the offensive line.

If the reports are true, both Henson and Hill will likely receive significant raises. According to the university’s salary database, Henson made $221,500 last season in base salary, while Hill made $232,500. Yost, in comparison, made $354,750.

It has yet to be determined how the reported promotion of Henson would affect Missouri’s offense, which averaged only 25.8 points per game last season in its inaugural year in the SEC. Missouri returns starting quarterback James Franklin and wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, and head coach Gary Pinkel is hopeful that injured running back Henry Josey will return as well.

Team spokesman Chad Moller did not respond to the Missourian’s requests for a comment on Sunday afternoon.

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Richardson reportedly suspended for Syracuse game

Multiple outlets are reporting tonight that Missouri senior defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has been suspended for the team’s home finale Saturday against Syracuse. Team spokesman Chad Moller declined to confirm the speculation, however.

At 7:20 p.m., KOMU’s Ashley Zavala tweeted, “Source close to the Mizzou football team says DT Sheldon Richardson is suspended vs. Cuse for not going to class/ failing to do punishment.”

Shortly after, Power Mizzou’s Gabe DeArmond and the Columbia Tribune’s Dave Matter each tweeted similar reports, attributing the information to undisclosed sources.

After receiving an email from the Columbia Missourian asking for an official comment regarding the possible suspension, Moller responded, “I appreciate you asking but I don’t have anything for you.”

If Richardson indeed does not play Saturday, he will miss his final opportunity to play on Faurot Field. Richardson, seen by many as Missouri’s best defensive player, has a team-leading 70 tackles, four sacks and three forced fumbles thus far this season.

Redshirt senior Jimmy Burge, who has amassed 11 tackles and a sack in limited playing time, will likely start in Richardson’s place.

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$2,979.08 at the Vince Young Steakhouse

The Missouri athletics department is cracking down on improper credit card purchases after an audit revealed that director of video operations Michael Schumacher charged $7,605.50 at a Las Vegas nightclub in May 2011.

But that was not the only improper purchase found. Jeff Daniels, a former Missouri men’s basketball director of operations, billed $2,979.08 to the school at the Vince Young Steakhouse. Daniels currently works at Arkansas under former Missouri basketball coach Mike Anderson. The charges have been repaid, but how is it possible to spend that much money at a steakhouse?

Missouri athletics department spokesman Chad Moller said the charge was for a team meal, so it was for about 30 people, coaches, players and support staff. Even with 30 people, that’s still almost $100 per person.

At the Vince Young Steakhouse, that’s easier than you think. When Dorial Green-Beckham and his family visited Texas, Tracy Beckham, Dorial’s adoptive mother, said “You have to make money like Vince Young to eat at that place because it was so expensive.”

The most expensive steak is the “Prime Porterhouse for Two,” a 42 oz. steak that costs $100. The next highest, “The Perfect Ten,” is for one person and costs $50. Steak add-ons like crab meat, bleu cheese crumbles or sautéed mushrooms range from $4-13, with an average price of $10. Sides like fries or bacon macaroni and cheese are $8. The bottom of the last page of the menu reads:

“We suggest a minimum entree per guest; all split entrees and steaks will be a $5 charge.”

So if each person got “The Perfect Ten” with a side and an add-on (averaging $10), the total for each person would be $68. Add in the cost of a drink and gratuity and the number probably sits around $90 per person.

So what if you don’t believe that every person ordered the most expensive steak? And even with all the things we just went over, the total number still comes up well short of the $2979.08.

Well, maybe some members of the group ordered appetizers. Maybe the “Crispy Quail” for $14.

Or maybe they saved room and ordered off of the desert menu. The Crème Brulee is just $7.

Or maybe some members of the group (presumably those over 21 years old) chose to enjoy an adult beverage. The Vince Young Steakhouse features four separate menus for wine, scotch, bourbon and cocktails.

Maybe someone ordered a bottle of “Chateau Margaux,” a wine listed on the menu for $1,125. It is listed on the “Vince Young Signature Collection.” These wines are the personal favorites of the 2005 National Championship-winning former Longhorns quarterback. The menu says:

“Each bottle has been hand signed and is a take home gift to the buyer from Vince himself.”

What a great gift.

Anyway, this probably did not happen. The more likely scenario is that the group of about 30 people ate in the “Private Dining” section. There are three menus groups can choose from: “The Forty Yard Dash Menu” ($60 per person), “The 2 Point Conversion Menu” ($75 per person) and the “Touchdown Pass Menu” ($85 per person).

Each choice includes various soups, salads, entrees, sides and “apps and zerts” for guests to choose from.

But if there were exactly 30 people in the group and they got the “Touchdown Pass” deal, that means the tip was under 15 percent. Maybe they just went for two.

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