Column: A Whaley of a problem

Between the stresses of my return to mid-Missouri, a calm came over me like a Temptation Island chick after a run-in with that massage therapy dude — at least a Missouri athlete didn't get arrested over the monthlong break.

Well, not technically. Missouri basketball recruit Robert Whaley was arrested last week and charged with third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a 13-year-old girl.

The girl, who was staying the night with Whaley's sister in Whaley's parents' trailer, said Whaley forced her into a bedroom to do things against her will, things Mandy Moore said she won't do until she gets married.

Whaley does not live with his parents. His legal guardian, interestingly enough, is Missouri associate head coach Tony Harvey's father, Lou Harvey, who is also Whaley's basketball coach in Benton Harbor, Mich.

Just what the MU Athletic Department needs: more legal trouble. And this time, from someone who hasn't even taken a semester of classes. Well, two, if you count Travis Garvin.

If Whaley is cleared, next year's Tiger squad could make a run at the NCAA Tournament, or the NAACP Tournament, as KOMU's Beth Malicki referred to it in Tuesday's evening broadcast. I'm not even going to touch that one...

Tiger defensive end Justin Smith announced a week-and-a-half ago that he will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft. With new defensive coaches, not to mention Gary Pinkel, now in the mix, the draft was just too much to pass up.

Let's put it this way: If you worked for free and got a new boss, would you stay or take a job with a multi-million dollar pay raise? The son of a bull-semen broker has given MU football followers a career's worth of highlights and should be commended for that, not castigated for skipping out early...

Tiger hoop fans — step away from the tailpipe and open the garage door. Everything is going to be OK. Tuesday's 21-point shellacking at the hands of Kansas State simply proved the first rule of basketball: Never look ahead. Tiger players, each of whom ran the floor as swiftly as Jabba the Hut after a handful of Quaaludes, were undoubtedly exhausted after Saturday's marathon victory over Iowa State.

Snyder said he thought they'd be complacent, especially with Saturday's match-up with Virginia — which is on national television — looming. Turns out, he was right.

So, Tiger Fan, get a hold of a tape of the Kansas State game. Send it to a little brother or sister who plays high school sports and repeat after me, "This is your team. This is your team when they don't show up for every single game."

Lord knows Snyder will break out the video later in the season.

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