Gary Pinkel may have retired from his role as head coach of the Missouri Tigers, but it seems some politicians in Missouri want to make him the target for criticism over how he handled a players strike last November. Senator Paul Wieland has reportedly threatened to file a complaint about Pinkel’s support of the strike in support of the Concerned Student 1950 movement on Missouri’s campus last November. He even goes so far as to suggest Pinkel held the university hostages and was later rewarded for it.
From the Columbia Tribune;
Wieland told interim MU Chancellor Hank Foley “my constituents were kind of concerned that in their minds he had held the university hostage and as a reward the university gave him a contract for a million dollars over three years.”
Foley defended the package that will pay Pinkel $950,000 over three years but left the impression it was a buyout for Pinkel to step aside. Pinkel’s final coaching contract guaranteed him $4.02 million a year.
“In a sense you could argue that he was kind of bought out of his contract for what is comparatively much, much less than he could have had if he had just stayed in the job,” Foley said.
For a brief refresher on this situation, last fall a student protest movement sought the removal of university president Tim Wolfe for his apparent lack of concern for certain incidents involving the treatment of black students on Missouri’s campus. The movement made national headlines after black football players initially confirmed their intentions to sit out of football activities until Wolfe had resigned. Soon after that, Pinkel shared his show of support for the movement by showing a photo of the entire team joining in a show of unity. The strike coming in the middle fo the season put a neutral site game against BYU in Kansas City at risk, but Wolfe resigned days later and the game went on. Pinkel later announced his resignation as head coach and was then given a role of fundraiser ambassador.
“I will probably be preparing a complaint to forward to the provost on” Pinkel’s “behalf as well,” Wieland said. “Because what he did, in my view, did discredit to the university.”
This is an argument that has been shared before with regard to Pinkel. By showing his support for the players, Pinkel in a way was undermining the leadership at the University of Missouri. The thing is, sometimes you have to take a stand for the greater good, and Pinkel standing side by side with his players on such an important social issue in his community may have been more important than allowing the university’s president to save face.
After suffering a right knee injury against BYU this past weekend, freshman defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. will miss Missouri’s next game against Tennessee. Beckner had an MRI on Monday, and head coach Gary Pinkel says he will miss the next game, and perhaps more. Pinkel even suggested a phone call from former Tigers wide receiver Jeremy Maclin could come in handy.
“Depending on where this goes, J-Mac would be a really good phone call for him,” Pinkel said Monday, according to The Kansas City Star. Maclin tore an ACL in his right knee at Missouri during his freshman year. Maclin rebounded nicely, of course, and went on to be drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. He currently plays for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Pinkel’s suggestion a phone call from Maclin might be comforting is a sign the injury to Beckner is a severe one, although the exact extent of the injury has not yet been reported or announced. Whatevere the more long-term future holds for Beckner, his absence will clearly be a tough one to overcome for the Tigers with two games to play. Beckner, a four-star recruit in Missouri’s Class of 2015, was a starter at nose guard for the Tigers. His spot in the starting line-up will be filled by Rickey Hatley, who was serving as a backup defensive tackle. Hatley has appeared in nine games this season and has recorded 18 tackles.
Missouri must win one of its final two game sin order to become bowl eligible. After hosting Tennessee this week, the Tigers wrap up the regular season on the road at Arkansas.
A student movement on the campus of the University of Missouri has led to the resignation of university president Tim Wolfe. A day after issuing a statement saying he will not step down from his position as university president, Wolfe says he is resigning as student criticism grew louder and louder regarding his lack of initiative to address recent racial issues on Missouri’s campus. The movement picked up steam in recent days with members of the football team, followed by the entire team and coaching staff, joining in unison to protest Wolfe’s leadership.
Missouri players took a stand by deciding to hold out of all football-related activities until Wolfe resigned or was forced out of office. Head coach Gary Pinkel shared a photo of the entire program standing side-by-side in a show of unity on Sunday. Football practice was canceled on Sunday and the game this week against BYU in Kansas City was put in real jeopardy. If the game had to be canceled by Missouri, the school would have owed BYU $1 million according to the contract for a two-game series. With Wolfe resigning from his role as president, football activity is expected to resume immediately and this week’s game against the Cougars will go on as scheduled without a hitch.
Wolfe’s resignation came at a special meeting of the university system’s Board of Curators. The meeting was previously unscheduled but thrown together as national attention to the situation at Missouri gained momentum. The football program stepping up as one in protest certainly helped put the movement on the map for those who may not have been paying close enough attention, but the faculty also staged a walk out Monday morning as well. It is an example of how influential the sports world can be on major real-life issues, and if the football program unified to help the university community take a step forward toward equality and justice, then kudos to all involved for the way this situation as handled.
The threat of a cancellation to this week’s game between Missouri and BYU became a bit more realistic Sunday afternoon following a released statement from University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe. Boiling in controversy related to alleged negligence toward marginalized students’ experiences, students at Missouri are demanding a change in the president’s office. Wolfe released a statement on Sunday saying he and university leaders are cognizant of the concerns and have been working to address those issues, but he did not say he would resign. So, for now, the protests will continue. This could put Missouri’s game this weekend against BYU in Kansas City in jeopardy, as members of the football team have said they will not participate in any football-related activities until Wolfe is out of office.
The Kansas City Star shared a copy of the contract for the series between Missouri and BYU back in January. In it are details of what happens in the event either school has to cancel the game. While exemptions and alternate plans are outlined, one thing that is seemingly pretty straightforward is what happens in the event of a forfeit, for whatever the reason may be. The school in need of cancelling the game would be contractually be obligated to pay the other university a sum of $1 million within 30 days from the date of the cancelled game.
Per the contract;
“The parties agree that if one party cancels, forfeits, unilaterally delays or postpones, or fails to appear at, any game (there and similar actions hereafter referred to as “cancel”), actual damages — including those relating to public relations, radio and television broadcasts, lost profits, and other consequential damages — would be difficult or impossible to calculate. The parties further agree that processes, including litigation, to determine damages would be both unnecessarily expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, the parties agree that if one party cancels (hereafter, the “defaulting party”) any game or games, the defaulting party shall pay as liquidated damages to the other party One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) for each cancelled game, to be paid no later than thirty (30) days following the scheduled game.”
Football players announced their intention to sit out of any football-related activities until that demand is met, and on Sunday head football coach Gary Pinkel joined them, along with the rest fo the team, in a show of unity by the program and members of the student-body. If Missouri does not have a team to take the field on Saturday against BYU, it will result in a forfeit, and thus cost the school $1 million to BYU.
Missouri is also two games shy of becoming bowl eligible, with three games to play (including the BYU game). The two-game series with BYU was signed off on in November of 2014. Missouri is scheduled to visit BYU in 2020 in the second game on the contract.
In an ideal world we would all use college football and other sports as a way to escape the harsh reality and political landscape of hot button issues we continue to sort through on a regular basis. We know, of course, that simply cannot happen and sports will always meet real life issues at an intersection in one way or another. This is the case at the University of Missouri, where it has been reported black college football players on Missouri’s team will no longer be participating in any football-related activities until university president Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed from his seat. If you were curious how Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel has felt about this, then wonder no more. He supports the voice of his players, and has united the entire team in delivering the message.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon issued a released statement Sunday afternoon as well.
“Racism and intolerance have no place at the University of Missouri or anywhere in our state,” Governor Nixon said. “Our colleges and universities must be havens of trust and understanding. These concerns must be addressed to ensure the University of Missouri is a place where all students can pursue their dreams in an environment of respect, tolerance and inclusion.”
Missouri is scheduled to play BYU this week in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium. As of now, there is no indication that game will be canceled, forfeited or rescheduled, but the pressure is on at Missouri for something to happen if that game is to remain in place. There is precedent for college football players to unite on a political or racial issue that could have an impact on a game, but it has been decades since we have seen something like this at this level.
Missouri is 4-5 this season, two wins shy of bowl eligibility. The loss of one game on the schedule with three to play carries some significant ramifications for bowl prospects, and the revenue that comes with it. Missouri players are putting more important social issues in front of football and revenue, and Pinkel is showing strong character in joining them in that protest.