Joint statement from Missouri A.D. Mack Rhoades and football coach Barry Odom regarding Maty Mauk pic.twitter.com/EBNhJ3Ho09— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) January 26, 2016
1. The video is very, very specific. But perhaps the most frustrating part is how many unknowns it leaves. What's the substance? (We almost certainly know, yes, but not 100%.) When was this taken? Was this part of the reason for Maty Mauk's original suspension?
We know he's got short hair now (and evidently has since December), and in the video his hair appears to be long, so it's at least a couple of months old. And since rumors of drug use have been flying since before his first suspension in September, it's always felt pretty logical to assume it was connected to the suspension. Gary Pinkel, for (usually) better or (sometimes) worse, chose to keep things in-house if at all possible, so we never got to officially make that connection. And there were plenty of other rumors, too. So now we have a video that appears to confirm a lot of rumors but actually answers few questions.
2. Ask just about any college coach, and he'll tell you he's a teacher, someone who molds young men. And it's not completely a lie. We know, just as they do, that they have to win to remain employed, and a large portion of their decision-making comes with that in mind. But most of them feel good about the effect they can have on the lives of 18- to 22-year olds.
I've tried to keep this in mind when dealing with the (ongoing) Mauk situation, among others. It is certainly easy for us, as annoyed Missouri fans, to simply say "boot him!" because we're not the people in charge, and we've never been tasked with leading him. A lot of us just want him gone because we're tired of talking about him, and/or we were tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop the way it did when the video came out on Monday night.
If you're his coach, though? You've seen the bond he's found with a lot of his teammates, and you've especially seen him struggling through his dad's cancer treatment. If this video is from, say, September, and he's passed drug tests and been a model teammate since you let him back in the door in December, then you really might not want to release him from your program. His is a redemption story you might think you can coax into view.
That's part of the reason why he's still on the team at this exact moment in time. First Gary Pinkel, then Barry Odom, knew they were inviting an ongoing headache (in terms of both PR and the dreaded QB controversy) by keeping him on the team, but he's still on the team.
Of course, if they specifically knew that this was going on, or at least if they knew there was clear evidence of it, Pinkel and his staff would have probably encouraged rehab back in September/October, as both an act of personal guidance and an act of PR. Whether he truly has/had a problem, or whether he went crazy for a week or two, this is typically the path you travel. Choosing another path is inviting trouble and scrutiny. Missouri's had enough of both of those lately.
3. So yeah, he's probably gone. Redemption stories are great, but both Odom and athletic director Mack Rhoades know that perceptions matter. And while there may be all sorts of blurriness when it comes to random players getting caught with marijuana, harder substances are a different issue altogether. At some point, you stop thinking like a coach/leader/teacher and put on the CEO hat, and you probably decide that this isn't a PR hit you can take.
That sucks, by the way, especially if he really has kept his head on straight since rejoining the program. His father is still dealing with cancer treatment, and the semester just started (which will probably make it more difficult to find a landing spot for him). But in terms of doing right for your whole program, at some point keeping a specific guy on your roster becomes too much of a burden. We all like happy endings, but even the optimists among us probably know how the Mauk-at-Mizzou story is going to end, and it's probably going to end quickly.
Here's Michael Scherer
But now since I did that I will say yes the video is very old, yes Maty has been doing everything he can to be a better person and— Michael Scherer (@Mike_Scherer38) January 26, 2016
... Yes you should look at yourself in the mirror before pointing out someone else's problems. No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.— Michael Scherer (@Mike_Scherer38) January 26, 2016
Here's wide receiver Keyon Dilosa:
That video is from 2 years ago. Everyone has made a mistake before somebody just felt like it'd be cool to ruin his life.... He's been clean— Keyon++ (@KeyonXX15) January 26, 2016
Here's walk-on wide receiver Oke Akushe
Video of @M_MAUK_7 is clearly old. He has learned from past mistakes. No way in God's earth will he do that knowing what could be @ stake— Child Please (@OkeAkushe11) January 26, 2016
Assuming the video is as old as teammates are saying it is, the odds are good that this passes into the "known knowns" department. In theory, that might improve his odds of remaining on the team, though we still don't know what he had told coaches about previous issues and whatnot. More to learn, I guess.