Friday, December 30, 2011

Report indicates MU basketball coach Frank Haith tampered with transfer student

Posted by on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Frank Haith denies tampering the Khem Birch.
  • Frank Haith denies tampering the Khem Birch.
The Mizzou Tigers men's basketball team is off to a perfect start under new head coach Frank Haith, but his reputation has been anything but. Before he took the court at Mizzou Arena, Haith was named in a report outlining a former University of Miami athletic booster Nevin Shapiro's accusations of widespread wrongdoing and unethical behavior at the school. Haith was the men's basketball coach at the school from 2004 until earlier this year. Shapiro claimed that Haith knew the booster had paid recruit DeQuan Jones $10,000. Haith denied wrongdoing and knowing about the payment.

A new potentially distracting story about Haith is gaining traction today, as CBS Sports college basketball reporter Jeff Goodman tweeted this morning that the University of Pittsburgh is upset with Mizzou and Haith for allegedly tampering with Panthers freshman center Khem Birch.

Goodman published a series of tweets speculating that Pitt might release Birch, but they wouldn't allow him to leave for Mizzou. One message read, "Told, per sources, that Pittsburgh has not given a release for Missouri to recruit Khem Birch. Source said Pitt thinks Mizzou was tampering." He then reported that the Tigers never officially asked for Birch to be released. Goodman added, "However, Pittsburgh would not have likely released Birch to Missouri because there was feeling Mizzou was messing with Birch and his people." Birch announced in December, after just 10 games with Pitt, that he planned on leaving the school.

Haith later told Sporting News that he didn't tamper with Birch. "We haven’t asked for a release. We haven’t done anything with the kid," he said. The Columbia Tribune, however, points out that as recently as December 19, speculation was rampant that Birch would be the latest high-profile player Haith brought to Columbia.

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