Edward Redler, 23 Sports

Wednesday, July 13-

After 14 months as the University of Missouri’s athletic director, Mack Rhoades is leaving Missouri for Baylor University.

Rhoades came to Missouri from the University of Houston in April, as the replacement for Mike Alden.

Head football coach Barry Odom was informed of Rhoades’ decision on Tuesday night.

The announcement is the latest change to the university and athletic department, which now has an interim UM system president, chancellor, and athletic director.

Baylor is in a similar state of transition as their president, athletic director and football coach all lost their jobs after an independent investigation determined they failed to respond appropriately to numerous physical and sexual assaults by football players.

Rhoades’ tenure at MU was spent almost exclusively in crisis management. On Nov. 7, MU football players announced on social media that they had joined forces with the Concerned Student 1950 protest group and would boycott all football activities until University System President Tim Wolfe left office. The players were upset about Wolfe’s perceived unresponsiveness to recent racial incidents on campus. On Nov. 9 Wolfe resigned. Republican legislators threatened to cut funding to the university as retaliation.

Later that week, head football coach Pinkel announced he was retiring for health reasons after 15 years at the helm. Shortly after turning to Assistant Coach Barry Odom as Pinkel’s replacement, Rhoades revealed that Missouri’s struggling basketball program was under NCAA investigation for alleged violations committed during coach Frank Haith’s tenure. Missouri self-imposed a postseason ban and scholarship reductions but has yet to hear the final word from the NCAA on its punishment.

Rhoades then decided to retain head Basketball coach Kim Anderson. Though, Rhoades was hesitant to show Anderson confidence during the season and waited four days after the season before announcing he would return.

In April, Rhoades initiated an investigation of the softball program and coach Ehren Earleywine after receiving complaints from players. The investigation was handed off to MU’s Title IX office and has yet to be resolved. A group of Missouri softball players who supported Earleywine announced before a regular-season home game that they were playing under protest of Rhoades. The rift split many fans and Missouri fans wore shirts supporting Earleywine to MU’s NCAA regional home games.

Rhoades last significant act was hiring Southeast Missouri State’s Steve Bieser after baseball coach Tim Jamieson resigned.

In the immediate future, Wren Baker has been named Missouri’s interim Athletic Director.

Interim Chancellor Hank Foley released the following statement:

“I’ve asked Wren Baker to serve as our interim Director of Athletics upon Mack’s departure. Wren has been an AD at two institutions and has an impressive background and will bring stability to the athletic department. We have a remarkable tradition of success but our future is even brighter because of the support of the many alumni and friends of the University.”

This is a developing story. Follow us on twitter @MUTV23 and @23SportsMUTV for the latest information.

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