A third quarter budget review of the University of Missouri Environmental Sciences Department found that more than $1 million had been shifted from that academic track to fund a study at the Mizzou Arena home locker room. State watchdogs want to know why.
Citizen-led Ensuring Nature's Value for You (ENVY) held a press conference at Brady Commons today to decry the shifted funds.
Group spokesman Bradley Odom said, "I don't think there is any question that this year's basketball team is drawing most of the positive attention away from other valuable programs at this university. Now we know that Cuonzo Martin's team is drawing away money, too. If reporters spent more time focused on matters of importance like this and less time on whether a defensive line was actually suffering from anemia, our world might not be in the position it is today."
While ENVY may have cried scandal, Environmental Sciences chairman Frasier Le Monde insisted the project was based entirely in the pursuit of science.
"Science is detective work," Le Monde said, "and we have had a very big mystery on our hands for more than a decade. Why are some teams so successful but others so absolutely embarrassing?"
Le Monde revealed that more than $800,000 had already been spent to take and analyze soil samples, air quality, and other potential environmental hazards in and around the Mizzou Arena home locker room.
Le Monde said the University had become increasingly concerned that the Mizzou locker room had a hidden environmental hazard.
"Before we even began testing, we had lots of anecdotal data that there was a problem beginning about 13 years ago," Le Monde said. "It's a frustrating problem because it's intermittent. There was so much suffering over the last decade, yet somehow Frank Haith went 30-5? We weren't even sure Mr. Haith could count to 30 without cheating. It just didn't make sense."
While sports experts pointed to a litany of recruiting scandals as the primary cause for Mizzou's overall poor performance since the 2003-2004 season, scientists weren't so sure. They've spent the past eight weeks taking samples and analyzing what they found.
"It's been rather disappointing so far," Le Monde said. "We have no real conclusions, and the only foreign matter we found was in a duffel bag embroidered with the letters QT. Some glassine pouches and white powder. Who knows? It's probably corn starch. Baby powder. I don't know. But that's what make science so fun."
Sources tell Mizzou News that the University's insurance provider insisted on the tests after coach Cuonzo Martin brought a dream team to Missouri for the 2017-18 season, one led by all-star Michael Porter Jr.
Reached outside practice tonight, Martin said, "I know they did some tests. Said something about protecting their...what was the word they used?...investment. I don't know what they're talking about. I'm thinking about Utah. And before you ask, he's day-to-day, okay? I'm not a doctor!"
Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder said through a spokesmen, "Duffel bag? No. I wore a backpack. But send that duffel here and I'll check to be sure. FedEx overnight, alright?"
ENVY's spokesman, Odom, said his group would be keeping a very close watch on the Mizzou basketball program this season to ensure no further money is misspent. "We must be vigilant if we're to be sure the basketball team doesn't get preferential treatment over any other programs that might not make a bowl game this year."