COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Southeastern Conference has fined Missouri Athletics Director Jim Sterk $25,000 and reprimanded him for publicly criticizing South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley.
The fine was issued Thursday, the same day Staley sued Sterk for slander.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement that Sterk broke a conference rule banning public criticism of other member institutions, their staff or players.
Sterk said after Missouri lost 64-54 at South Carolina on Jan. 30 that his players were called racial slurs and spit on.
South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner says his investigation found no proof of Sterk's claims.
Sankey says he has ordered two SEC officials to work with Tanner to review how South Carolina handles crowds at its games.
Sankey said he has spent weeks trying to get the schools to solve their problems together, but failed.
South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley has sued Missouri's athletics director for slander after he suggested she wanted fans to spit and use racial slurs against his players.
Staley's lawsuit filed Thursday in South Carolina asks for no more than $75,000 in damages from Jim Sterk for damaging her reputation.
After South Carolina's 64-54 win Jan. 28, Sterk said in a radio interview that Staley created the unhealthy environment.
South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner conducted an investigation, found no evidence for Sterk's allegations and asked the Missouri AD to retract his comments. Staley called the comments "serious and false."
Sterk instead told another radio station he moved on and had nothing else to say .
Missouri officials say they will comment about the suit later Thursday.
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