If you’ve been an observer of Missouri Athletics for the last two years or so, you’d know that things in Columbia have slowly turned into a disaster. Lately, they have sputtered yet again and recently reached another peak as their previously incumbent athletic director Mack Rhoades left MU for Baylor — which might indicate a lot about the job right now that one would leave for the toxic situation in Waco — and then the interim AD left for North Texas.
Speaking of Rhoades, a standing investigation into Missouri softball was underway while he was in charge of the athletics program. Rhoades and softball coach Ehren Earleywine weren’t exactly on the best of terms and evidently neither were the players. They were playing in protest for the time and as KansasCity.com indicates, there were a list of issues in the team’s statement that was heavily leaning towards coach Earleywine:
— Bullying and intimidating players during forced interviews
— AD Mack Rhoades told us that we, the players don’t have ANY say in who is the coach of our team
— We believe a gag order has been placed on our coaches
— The administration was completely incompetent in handing the fall football scandal and they are doing a worse job at this
— This is a Title IX sport and they’re making up a false investigation
— The softball program under coach Ehren Earleywine IS THE WINNINEST PROGRAM IN THE HISTORY OF MISSOURI SPORTS
“Mack Rhoades and Mizzou athletics administration drawing out this unnecessary investigation on our coaching staff is having an emotional effect on our team.
“Let our coaches coach us! That’s why we came here!”
So, yeah, it wasn’t all sunshine and gumdrops in CoMO for a while, and this was while Mizzou was entrenched in the NCAA Softball Tournament, and doing a dang good job in it as well as they reached the Super Regionals before ultimately falling in their attempt to reach the College World Series in Oklahoma City. Earleywine garnered lots of public support all the while, and the feeling was that, whatever the case, Mizzou had dragged this out quite a while.
This was further reiterated on Monday afternoon by PowerMizzou’s Gabe DeArmond.
BTW, even if there is resolution on the Earleywine thing, it was handled terribly. Either fire a great coach or put him thru ringer for nada— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) August 1, 2016
Of course the guy who was in charge of handling it is now gone, so, you know, whatevs.— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) August 1, 2016
Given the state of affairs, you’d be pretty hard pressed to disagree with DeArmond’s points. Softball for Mizzou ended well over two months ago and, up to this point, no resolution to this situation had come together. The internal affairs must be pretty bad in Columbia for them to be dragging their feet with this. Especially when you consider that far more trivial issues still have yet to be resolved too.
The dust finally seems to be settling on this situation though. Indications out of Columbia appear to be that a resolution is steadfast approaching and, apparently, Mizzou softball’s head coach will be in the clear:
Missouri's Title IX investigation into softball coach Ehren Earleywine complete. I'm told no violations. No word from MU yet on his— Chris Gervino (@KOMUChrisG) August 1, 2016
So, there you have it, folks. If KOMU 8 sports reporter Chris Gervino’s report is accurate, the long national nightmare will finally over and no violations will surface after this tireless investigation into what was (or wasn’t) going on in the program. Of course, there’s also the issue of hoards of softball players, including their top pitcher, leaving the program to play for other programs which may have had something to do with the investigation and its length.
Let’s take it one step at a time though.