Months of serving as a national punching bag, or months of watching the most harrowing soap opera Mizzou has seen? Decisions, decisions...
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.
The Clemons Calls
Somehow, choking his girlfriend for watching Roots wasn't the worst part, nor was the eventual probation that hit Mizzou long after his departure. Hell, it wasn't even the ATV accident at the school president's house (when he was supposed to be "studying" elsewhere). No, the most embarrassing -- and morbidly entertaining -- part of the whole Ricky Clemons ordeal, from the great promise of Fall 2002 to the eventual resignation of Quin Snyder, had to be the jailhouse tapes.
On the evening of Aug. 1, Ricky Clemons placed a phone call from Boone County Jail to the home of University of Missouri Assistant Athletic Director Ed Stewart. Stewart’s wife, Amy, answered the phone. She said some guests, including the MU president’s wife, were coming over for dinner.
What was the special occasion?
The depositions in Clemons’ assault case against Jessica Bunge had hit the media, and Missouri basketball Coach Quin Snyder and assistant Lane Odom were publicly accused of giving Clemons improper gifts and cash.
"We’re celebrating," Amy Stewart told Clemons. "Celebrating your little ass because it’s all out."
In another phone conversation, she was even more forceful.
"You’re going to take them down. You know that, right?" Amy Stewart told Clemons. "You’re taking them down."
"I’m taking great pleasure," Amy Stewart said. "You’re taking them down."
Clemons’ taped phone conversations from jail, obtained by the Tribune through an open-records request, portray an athletic department and university bitterly divided over the former MU point guard....
In the recordings, Amy Stewart related a story, which she attributed to her husband, about the atmosphere at the Hearnes Center at the time.
"Ed come home, every time he come home, he be like, ‘Them crackers shaking. They going crazy. They don’t know what to do. They shaking. They can’t talk to Ricky. They’re like some crackheads running around there,’ " Amy Stewart said.
Them. Crackers. Shaking.
To see where this athletic program has come at this point, despite the losses, despite the turmoil, despite drama too creative for any other school to come up with in the middle of the decade, is so amazing and, quite frankly, heartening. ... And with all we've been through, I don't think we'll be taking success for granted anytime soon.