On Thursday, the NCAA announced that the University of Missouri’s football, baseball, and softball teams will be banned from competing in the post-season this year. In addition, the university’s athletic department will be placed on a three-year probation. This comes after NCAA investigations concluded that Missouri committed academic fraud.
A former tutor for the University of Missouri completed academic work for 12 student-athletes, which is a violation of the NCAA ethical conduct and academic misconduct. The tutor stated that she felt pressure to make sure that the athletes passed their courses in order to stay eligible to play.
The type of work that she completed included assignments, quizzes, and exams. She even took an entire course for one athlete and completed parts of a math placement test for two athletes that would keep them out of a remedial class.
The tutor was a former Missouri graduate student who received her master’s in mathematics education. In late 2010, the university hired her as a part-time teacher and math tutor for the athletics department.
From 2010 to 2016, she tutored on and off for the department until she resigned on Nov. 7, 2016. This came five days after she self-reported her actions to the Missouri compliance office that she had violated NCAA rules.
The NCAA did not disclose the tutor’s name in the report because of her repeated threats to leak details about the case.
In addition to the post-season ban and three-year probation, Missouri and the tutor have to comply with the following penalties:
- The tutor can be hired by an NCAA university, but cannot work for any athletic department.
- The school must vacate any records in cases where student-athletes competed ineligible in football, baseball, and softball.
- A 5 percent reduction in the amount of scholarships that the university offers in the football, baseball, and softball programs during the 2019-20 academic year.
- A fine of $5,000 plus 1 percent of each of the football, baseball, and softball budgets.
The NCAA also placed recruiting restrictions for football, baseball, and softball.
- A 7-week ban on unofficial visits, recruiting communications, and all off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.
- A 12.5 percent reduction in official visits and recruiting-person or evaluation days.
Seniors at Missouri
All eyes are on seniors on the football, baseball, and softball teams after the release of these sanctions.
The NCAA allows for student-athletes to freely transfer if they would spend the rest of the college careers under post-season sanctions. This NCAA rule allows athletes to transfer without losing any eligibility at their new school.
One of the biggest names at Missouri is quarterback Kelly Bryant, who recently transferred from Clemson in December. Despite the sanctions, Bryant is planning to stay at Missouri for now, according to The State.
Senior defensive back Khalil Oliver took to Twitter to express his feelings.
Easily the most frustrating news to hear your before the start of your senior season
— Khalil Oliver (@Deramus26) January 31, 2019
In addition, senior softball player Regan Nash also tweeted her thoughts.
This isn’t happening.
— Regan Nash (@Bacon_and_REGS) January 31, 2019
What Happens Next?
The University of Missouri’s athletic department is looking to appeal the NCAA. The penalties cannot take effect until Missouri’s immediate appeal is reviewed, which is expected to happen in the next few weeks.
Statements From University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright & Director of Athletics Jim Sterk pic.twitter.com/Jo9ohPdQZi
— Mizzou Athletics (@MizzouAthletics) January 31, 2019
In order for Missouri to not receive the penalties they must prove one of four things:
- Evidence shows something contrary to the ruling.
- No NCAA rules were actually broken.
- A procedural error led the committee on infractions to find a violation.
- The penalty is excessive.
However, due to the scale and complexity of the case, the appeal can take months to possibly half the year to get a resolution.