NCAA's latest ruling does not change Mizzou's mindset

10 months 2 weeks 5 days ago Tuesday, August 27 2019 Aug 27, 2019 Tuesday, August 27, 2019 2:34:00 PM CDT August 27, 2019 in News
By: Nathalie Jones, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter

COLUMBIA - The NCAA's latest ruling on Mississippi State garnered attention from the Mizzou athletic department, but not the type that most would think.

Missouri and Mississippi State found themselves in very similar situations with the NCAA in 2019.

In January, the NCAA announced a one-year post season ban for Mizzou athletics, following a case of academic fraud that lingered from 2016. The committee also placed three years of probation, ordered the school to vacate wins for the years affected, and a five percent scholarship reduction on Missouri.

Mizzou's case came about when the athletic department self-reported a case of academic misconduct. Missouri came forward saying former tutor Yolanda Kumar committed academic misconduct with 12 former student-athletes.

Of the 12 former athletes involved, nine competed while they were "academically ineligible." The players appeared in games before the accusations were brought to the NCAA.

The University cooperated with the an NCAA committee throughout the investigation. However, Mizzou athletic director Jim Sterk was not pleased with the results.

The Tiger athletic department pushed forward with appeals to the sanctions given by the NCAA. The committee heard Missouri's final appeal in the case in July.

Fast-forward one month and Mississippi State athletics is now in the spotlight, but with a different penalty from the NCAA.

The cases are almost identical. A committee launched an investigation into the Bulldogs when accusations of academic misconduct came forward. The NCAA found that a tutor helped 10 members of the football team and one member of the basketball team with an online chemistry course during the fall semester of the 2018-19 school year.

Mississippi State faced similar sanctions to Missouri, except for the post season ban. The biggest punishment placed on the Bulldogs is three years of probation.

Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk said in statement, "We believe that the penalties imposed in the recently decided and factually similar case further illustrate that the penalties imposed on Mizzou were excessive and inconsistent with previous case precedent."

The cases were similar, except for how they were handled by the NCAA. Missouri's sanctions came down before the NCAA implemented the "new negotiated resolution process."

Mississippi State self-reported the misconduct and the NCAA agreed that the violation were Level I-Mitigated, since the school discovered and reported the violations themselves.

Missouri self-reported as well. However, the department reported before the new negotiations went into place in August of 2018.

Missouri football coach Barry Odom said Mississippi State's case does not give him an extra hoping heading into a decision with Mizzou's appeal.

"It doesn't change my level of optimism, comfort, or knowledge one bit" he said. "Every case is different. I've learned months ago, that any time I spend on that, I'm not doing right for my football team. If I sit around and read and think and try to predict the future, then I'm a fool."

Mizzou athletics is expecting a decision to its appeal during the upcoming 2019 football season.

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