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Board chairman Warren Erdman declined comment, saying “in as much as it’s not a board matter” _ even though the board has previously discussed coaching hirings and firings. Curator Judy Haggard, though, said she is withholding judgment until the school learns more from the NCAA.

“We can’t act when we don’t know,” she told the AP. “Give the man the benefit of the doubt. That’s my thinking.”

Deaton also cautioned against drawing premature conclusions.

“His side has not been told yet,” the chancellor said.

The extensive report by Yahoo Sports on Shapiro’s claims includes two photographs of the disgraced booster with Haith _ one at a swanky Miami Beach restaurant and the other showing the pair with Miami president Donna Shalala at a bowling alley accepting what Shapiro said was a $50,000 donation to the school’s basketball program.

The website also obtained records showing 85 phone calls or text messages between Shapiro and Haith between 2005 and March 2010.

Haith’s five-year contract at Missouri pays a base salary of $1.5 million per season with an automatic one-year contract extension effective May 1, 2012. The contract, however, includes language that states the school can terminate Haith because of “any behavior of the employee that brings him into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule or any behavior that is unfavorable to the reputation or moral or ethical standards of the University.”

The contract also states transgressions that occurred prior to being hired also can result in termination.


Alan Scher Zagier can be reached at