Frank Haith Scandal Should Not Force Missouri to Overreact

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 22, 2013

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 16:  Head coach Frank Haith of the Missouri Tigers looks on against the Norfolk State Spartans during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 16, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

Don't fret, Missouri fans. This is not the end. 

By "this," I of course mean CBS Sports' report that states "sources close to the situation" believe Tigers basketball head coach Frank Haith will "be charged with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance" during his time as an assistant coach with the University of Miami during the Nevin Shaprio scandal. 

The report continues:

Haith's unethical conduct could result in a multiple-year show-cause penalty. FormerTennessee coach Bruce Pearl received a three-year show-cause penalty after being charged with unethical conduct back in 2011 when he initially wasn't forthcoming about hosting recruits at his home on unofficial visits -- which is against NCAA rules.

The source told that the NCAA was unable to prove the allegation from Miami booster Nevin Shapiro that Haith or anyone on his staff paid $10,000 to a family member of former player DeQuan Jones. However, Haith will be charged with unethical conduct because the NCAA did not believe his story that payments to his assistants intended for camp money did not wind up going to repay Shapiro, who made the allegations to Yahoo Sports back in August of 2011. A source said that the money was delivered to Shapiro's mother -- who verified the payment to the NCAA. 

"Show," "cause" and "penalty" are three words a head coach—or a fan of that coach's university—never wants to see in the same sentence.

Even though Haith reportedly committed the fractions at Miami, his punishment in a "show cause" situation would carry over to Missouri, essentially marking the end of his career with the Tigers. 

But it doesn't have to mean that. 

As evidenced in the case of Bruce Pearl, who was fired from Tennessee and unable to find anyone to hire him, the "show-cause penalty" is notoriously seen as "death penalty."

Yet, while that is the common perception, Kent State's Rob Senderoff has proven it to be a misguided one. 

Senderoff was hired as an assistant by Kent State after "getting swept into the tornado that was Kelvin Sampson's tenure at Indiana" and kept on even after the announcement of his recruiting restrictions. 

In 2011, while still under restrictions, he was promoted to head coach. With three 20-win seasons since Senderoff came on the staff and a 21-12 season in his first year as head coach, the Golden Flashes have proven it possible to be successful under a coach with a "show-cause penalty."

In essence, the Tigers need to take a "wait-and-see" approach with their head coach.

If the restrictions put on Haith are deemed irreparable for the program, then by all means jump ship on the successful head coach. That is if there are restrictions at all; it's worth noting that Haith, according to his attorney, has not yet received a notice of allegations from the NCAA.

It's clearly too early to start the Frank Haith Unemployment Fund

Moreover, the Tigers are able to play the patience card with Haith because they have an ace in the hole. 

Should AD Michael Alden have to quickly find a new coach after what promises to be months of appeals and hearings, Tim Fuller is waiting in the wings. 

The 34-year-old assistant is a brilliant mind who has quickly moved up the coaching ranks and proved to be a dynamite recruiter. He is undoubtedly one of the brightest up-and-coming assistant coaches in America. 

Hiring from within always makes transition within a program much smoother and quicker, and Fuller being on the bench in Columbia means the Tigers won't have to rush to make a decision regarding Frank Haith's future.