Two incidents that in no way took place on a field or court. Mizzou has distinguished itself with its involvement in random soap operas ... and few were better than these two candidates.
Most off-the-field incidents that made this list were based around two things: good fortune and insecurity. Mizzou had none of the former and far too much of the latter, and perhaps none included less good fortune and more epic insecurity than MIZZOUEXPANSIONAPALOOZA™, the first M-I-Z... E-R-Y competitor with its own section at Rock M Nation. And oh, what a section it is. Every few months, something comes up that reminds me of last summer, and I end up visiting this section and reading through how it unfolded. I find myself both really, really pleased with the writing I did at that time ... and really, really anxiety-ridden all over again.
So what was the worst part?
Jay Nixon shooting his mouth off and alienating Texas Tech and Oklahoma State (who, last we checked, are still conference mates of Missouri's)?
Dennis Dodd's half-flattering, half-horrifying "Ol' Mizzou has been the waitress who unbuttons a couple of buttons on her blouse, leans over a table of guys and tells them, 'I get off in five minutes,'" article?
The fact that Mizzou played their leverage perfectly (if the rumors favor you, you try to use it to improve your lot in life, whether you change conferences or not), and in one Chip Brown rumor, Texas squashed any semblance of Mizzou leverage?
Those couple of days where the Mountain West looked like a distinct possibility?
The fact that Nebraska got the bid Mizzou was "opening its blouse" for?
So many to choose from. So much good writing. So many ulcers.
Gary Link Fires Quin Snyder
Allegedly, Quin Snyder refused to meet with Mike Alden. Alden had asked him about the possibility of him resigning a year earlier, and he had refused. He had asked Alden and Chancellor Brady Deaton for a vote of confidence before the 2005-06 season had begun, and they had refused. Alden couldn't necessarily fire Snyder because he had two years remaining on his contract, and the buyout would be significant, but by February 2006, Alden and Snyder allegedly had no working relationship whatsoever. And, also allegedly, Snyder was a no-show for any meeting Alden set up between the two. So Alden unleashed his secret weapon: the nicest person in the world, Gary Link.
Link, the "special assistant to the athletic director," went to Snyder's home on a Thursday evening in early February and allegedly informed Snyder that he would not be retained at the end of the season; though most details of the conversation are unknown, Snyder resigned the next day.
Perhaps never in the history of college athletics has an athletic director seen public support so completely disappear (not that he really had any before) despite giving the fanbase exactly what they wanted (in this case, a Snyder ouster). But that's what happened. Within a week, university president Elson Floyd was questioning him, Jon Sundvold was (for what was certainly -- and sadly -- not the last time) publicly sandbagging him, and fans were generating online petitions demanding his resignation.
(Actually, this even led me to officially 'quitting' Tigerboard, which eventually led to my decision to start a Missouri blog, so ... thanks, everybody!)
The Seinfeldian version of this story goes as follows: Mizzou fans demand an end to Quin Snyder's tenure as head basketball coach, Quin Snyder is ousted, yadda yadda yadda, Mizzou fans get even angrier. As details emerged, it made nobody look good, from Snyder (uncooperative employee who refused to go down without a messy public fight) to Alden (couldn't keep an employee in check, sent an underling to said employees house instead of doing it himself) to Floyd (privately backed his athletic director, publicly questioned him) to Link (okay, not really, nothing could make Link look bad) to Sundvold (revealed that he has no problem stabbing Mizzou's athletic director in the back, knowing that his public reputation will never be damaged in the eyes of a good portion of the fanbase, and did so quite a few times over the next few weeks).
Though perhaps not the most painful moment on this list, it was almost certainly the least proud moment. Everybody revealed their character flaws, and the Mizzou family had to rebuild itself with less trust than ever before. That the Mizzou family has come back together since then is both miraculous and heart-warming. Few programs have so publicly bottomed out, and few programs have so completely earned the success they have since seen since.