November 20, 2007

Jodie Adams
Kellington Boddie, Student Representative
Larry Catt
Casey Comoroski
Don Hendricks
Bruce Johnson, Chair
Mike Jungers
Tom Kane
Michelle Nahon
Miles Sweeney
Michael T. Nietzel
Charge for Special Review Panel

Over the years, Missouri State University’s Intercollegiate Athletics Program has gained and enjoyed a good reputation not only for success, but also for the way in which the coaches and student-athletes have represented the University and the community. The athletics coaches and staff have brought honor and recognition to the University. That is a significant achievement for any University, but especially for Missouri State, which has a mission in public affairs. We do not want to lose or tarnish that long-standing reputation.

This past week, public information about the behavior of a handful of our athletes over the past seven months has caused concern about our reputation and about the degree to which we are living up to expectations for appropriate behavior. The fact that this kind of trouble has been rare in the history of MSU athletic programs, especially in comparison to many other NCAA Division I schools, is important and I am grateful for it. But it does not change the fact that we now do face a challenge. How the University responds to that challenge is crucial – more crucial, in fact, than the individual instances giving rise to our current situation.

That is what led to the formation of this special review panel. This is an important matter; therefore, I appreciate your willingness to serve. I can assure you that you will have the full cooperation of the Intercollegiate Athletics Department, my office, and the entire University.

I have asked Dr. Bruce Johnson, our Faculty Athletics Representative and Professor of Agriculture, to chair this panel. Dr. Johnson will call the first meeting within the next couple of weeks. My hope is that you can complete your work and submit a report to me no later than March 1, 2008.

I ask that the panel achieve the following four-point charge:

  1. Examine our policies and practices to determine how well we are communicating our standards and expectations for appropriate behavior by our student-athletes, beginning with recruiting and continuing through competition at Missouri State.
  2. Examine our policies and practices for monitoring behavior of student athletes to enable and ensure as high a level of compliance with expectations as possible.
  3. Examine our policies and practices to determine if we are adequately prepared to react to different levels of legal involvement that a student athlete may encounter, ranging from arrest, to facing criminal charges, to being convicted of a crime.
  4. Examine our policies and practices regarding how we respond to requests for public information and/or comment about students who may find themselves in potential legal jeopardy.

For each of these areas, I seek your evaluation and your recommendations for improvement.

Again, I thank you for your assistance with this important assignment. Please let me know how I can help.