According to a report from Wyatt D. Wheeler and Harrison Keegan of the Springfield News-Leader, Missouri State head men’s basketball coach Dana Ford is currently under criminal investigation by the Polk County (MO) Sheriff. Ford has since issued a statement refuting the charge.
The News-Leader states that an incident report obtained from the Sheriff’s Office indicates Ford is under investigation for sexual misconduct. No criminal charges have been filed.
Following the release of this article, Ford issued a statement through his attorney Joseph S. Passanise, and published by Ozarksfirst.com:
“This is an unfortunate allegation coming at a time when Coach Ford’s team has been preparing for the end-of-season tournament,” Passanise said. “This is an attempt to attack Coach Ford’s outstanding reputation.”
“I felt compelled to respond to the serious allegations made today and to correct some factual errors,” Ford said. “The golf tournament mentioned in the article took place last September. During that tournament, I was on a team with three other players. None of those participants corroborated the allegation referenced because it didn’t happen.”
“The university investigated this situation when it was reported,” Ford continued. “The university found no evidence to support these false allegations. I participated fully with that investigation. These false allegations are particularly disturbing in light of the fact that my wife and I have spent much of our lives fighting domestic violence against women and children through our nonprofit Rebound Foundation.”
“The goal of this statement is to provide my position,” said Ford. “Missouri State University and my wife stand with me. My hope is that those who support Missouri State Athletics will continue to support the outstanding athletes whom I have the privilege of coaching.”
Missouri State officials also released a statement to the News-Leader which read:
“We have taken these allegations seriously. Given the nature of the allegations, they were immediately assigned to the university’s Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) for investigation. Following an initial investigation, the claims were unsubstantiated based on available evidence. The university has no further comment at this time.”
Ford has been the head coach at MSU since 2018, and was previously the head coach at Tennessee State (2014-18). The Bears are currently 13-12 (9-6 MVC), and in 6th place in the conference.
More on this story as it continues to develop.