On October 26th Missouri Tigers head coach Frank Haith indefinitely suspended senior guard Michael Dixon. At the time it was stated to be an “unspecified violation” of team rules and speculation has percolated ever since. Was the issue tied to academics or was there more to the story?
Along the way the Tigers have gotten off to a 5-1 start with their only loss coming at the hands of the Louisville Cardinals – who are now ranked 5th in the nation according to the AP Top 25. Win or lose however it has been blatantly obvious to anyone who has watched the games that the Tigers have lacked perimeter shooting and more to the point, they’ve missed Michael Dixon.
Haith had the suspended guard travel with the team to the Bahamas last week and had him on the bench in street clothes during the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. Haith’s logic was that he wanted Dixon to “feel the pain of not playing.”
The statements coming from the head coach and the fact that Dixon was able to travel with the team gave some credence, at least in my mind, that the discipline taking place was tied to academic issues. But then former Tiger Kim English sent out some tweets that supported Dixon and, among other things, elicited tweets from a young woman who claimed Dixon was suspended because he sexually assaulted her.
This evening Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star published an article with more definitive information on the matter. According to a police report, Dixon was accused of forcible rape on August 20th but was not charged at the time. From the Star’s article we have the following:
According to the report, the case was closed Nov. 16 after Tracy Gonzalez of the Boone County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office ruled there was insufficient evidence to file charges.
“Based on (the police) review … it was determined that the evidence was not sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury,” Gonzalez told The Star. “That’s how all of our cases are handled, and this wasn’t treated any different than any other investigation that comes through our office.
While Dixon appears to be free and clear of being formally charged, he is still subject to potential disciplinary action by the university. It would appear that this is where the matter currently sits. Though the university has yet to confirm or deny whether the accusations leveled against Dixon and the suspension are related it’s hard to believe that they are independent of one another.
According to an article published today* by Steve Walentik of the Columbia Tribune, the university’s Student Conduct Committee, which is made up of faculty, met on a matter involving Dixon. If they vote, or have already voted, to suspend or expel Dixon, he has the opportunity to file an appeal with the chancellor of the university.
*Mr. Walentik’s article contains some graphic details on the alleged event so click on the link at your own discretion.
As a fan of Missouri Tiger athletics and as a college basketball fan, I desperately want to see Dixon back on the court with his teammates. However, the whole situation gives me pause. Whether the allegations against Michael Dixon are true or not, it would seem his future as a basketball player at the University of Missouri is very much up in the air.
Basketball takes a back seat to the reality of the accusations being leveled and the potential disciplinary action related therein.