Mizzou Athletics released its first public statement Thursday about alleged abuses regarding the university’s athletic tutoring program.
The charges, notably that the “Total Person Program” was a highly sexualized environment, are compiled in a chapter of the book “The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football” by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian, set to be released in five days.
The department called the allegations “unfortunate” in the statement posted to its website and denied the authors had attempted to contact the university prior to publication.
Benedict, as reported by the Kansas City Star, said he emailed associate athletic director for media relations Chad Moller and football coach Gary Pinkel in March.
“The Department of Athletics takes great pride in the academic performance of our 520 student-athletes,” part of the department’s statement reads. “Our graduation success rates and Academic Progress Rates continue to be some of the highest at both the conference and national levels. Without question, the academic support services offered through the Total Person Program are a major contributor to this success, and we are very appreciative of the dedication provided by the men and women who serve as members of our tutorial program.”
One section of the book reportedly covers the conviction of former running back Derrick Washington, who was found guilty of sexually assaulting a former tutor in 2011. Washington was dismissed by the team in 2010.
Another section reportedly quotes Boone County assistant prosecutor Andrea Hayes as saying the tutoring program was “a joke.”
“Too many tutors were having sex with the athletes, and really filthy conversations were going on between players and girls,” the book allegedly quotes Hayes. “It was a sexually charged environment. It was a joke — the whole tutorial situation.”
Hayes later clarified her comments to say it was not her opinion but what tutors had told her.