MU former football starter speaks about tutors and NCAA penalties

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COLUMBIA – Recent MU wide receiver Nate Brown believes the NCAA and its sanctions are unfair to Mizzou student-athletes.

Brown played wide receiver for MU for four years, until he graduated in 2018.

He said he utilized the tutoring service many times since he said MU's business school is demanding. 

“For me personally, I had a great experience with the academic staff,” Brown said. 

When he first saw Yolanda Kumar’s tweets, he said he was surprised.

“There were no red flags or anything of that nature back when I had her as a tutor,” Brown said. “I was so surprised because she handled herself professionally when we had met.” 

He said NCAA should reconsider what exactly this is doing to the program and to the football players. 

“You’re punishing students who had no say so and no regard in the events that occurred a couple years ago,” Brown said.

Jim Sterk, MU athletic director said in a phone conference that he was surprised by the penalties too. 

“We’ve already (had) some student athletes, the current ones that were involved with the tutor have sat out, sat out contests, so we took appropriate action at that time,” Sterk said. “So we felt we were doing the right thing at that point in time so that in the end the penalty wouldn’t be as severe.” 

Part of the penalties the NCAA gave includes a 5 percent scholarship reduction in each program during the 2019-20 academic year.

If you consider a full-ride scholarship for an out of state player, that 5 percent reduction could be just under $2,000. For a partial scholarship, which means just tuition is paid, that 5 percent reduction could be just under 1,400.

David Roberts, an NCAA infractions official, said on a conference call that this an appropriate action, according to penalty guidelines.

"When a member institution comes forward and self-reports a violation and agrees to the classification of severe level 1, there are consequences that happen," Roberts said. 

Brown said the NCAA oversees many colleges, so they may not realize the effect this would have on MU. 

“I don’t think the NCAA knows exactly how hard this does hit, hurts and resonates a lot of the Mizzou community,” Brown said. 

However, if he was still playing, he said he wouldn’t let this get him down. 

“I would just try and use it as motivation to prove a lot of people wrong and do that during the regular season,” Brown said.

He said he hopes his former teammates do the same.