University of Missouri football Coach Gary Pinkel has been handed a one week suspension without pay, among other punishments after being arrested for a DWI Wednesday night.
By Ryan Famuliner and Chris McDaniel
The University of Missouri athletic department has decided Pinkel will not be on the sidelines for this weekend’s game against Texas Tech. Defensive Coordinator Dave Steckel will fill in as head coach. Pinkel will also donate another week’s salary – more than $40,000 - to MU’s Wellness Resource Center, and will not be eligible to get the $100,000 for social responsibility included in his contract or a $75,000 bonus if Missouri advances to a bowl game. Athletic Director Mike Alden says Pinkel will also have a pay freeze next year and will do 50 hours of community service. Alden says Pinkel’s actions go against everything the athletic department stands for.
“You know we tell our staff this, we tell our kids this all the time, ‘were always on.’ That’s out comment. We are always on, there’s no time that you are ever off the clock, there is no time that you’re not held to a higher standard,” Alden said.
But, Alden also said he truly believes this was just an ‘isolated incident’ considering Pinkel’s past behavior. Alden took numerous questions from reporters regarding the fact that just last season, two student athletes were both suspended for two games for similar incidents.
“All DWI’s I don’t think you can say that all those things are created equal. I don’t think there’s a cookie cutter approach, and I think I said that, that you can be able to apply to every particular case. It would seem simplistic to be able to do that. I don’t think it is. I think there are lots of circumstances that you have to be able to look at,” Alden said.
KBIA asked him what this suspension - one week and numerous financial penalties -will do to the credibility of the message that they are quote “always on.”
“I think this is a tremendous statement to our student athletes about what we’re all about,” Alden said.
And what about Pinkel’s credibility?
“I think you build up a certain level of credibility over the course of many years. And Gary has done a great job on that. But certainly that credibility takes a hit when something like this takes place, and I think it’s incumbent upon you as an individual to be able to work back, to gain back that credibility. Do I think Gary can do that? Absolutely,” Alden said.
Alden said the decision on the one week suspension had nothing to do with the rivalry game against Kansas being two weeks from now. According to a press release, the suspension will cost Pinkel more than $300,000 if the Tigers reach a bowl game. The Athletic Department’s website says Pinkel signed a deal in 2008 that guaranteed him $2.3 million dollars a year, with yearly raises. Alden told reporters he made the decision to not have Coach Gary Pinkel take part in the press conference.