Mizzou vacates entire 2013-2014 men’s basketball season due to NCAA violations

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COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The NCAA announced Wednesday that the University of Missouri's entire 2013-2014 basketball season will be vacated due to violations in NCAA bylaws.

That year was Mizzou's third and final season under coach Frank Haith. The team finished with a 23-12 record (9-9 SEC).

The NCAA has been working with the university to investigate potential violations for the past 19 months stemming from information the association received in December 2013 about then-student athletes, who were not named in a report from the university. The NCAA sent Mizzou a notice of inquiry on April 14, 2014.

The NCAA has a four-level violation structure; Levels I and II are considered "severe" and "significant" breach of conduct, respectively, and Levels III and IV are considered "secondary in nature."

The most serious violations center around the athlete's interactions with two different donors to MU Athletics.

The NCAA found Missouri had made five infractions: one Level I, two Level II, and two Level III violations.

The Level I violation revolved around a donor providing "impermissible benefits" to three men's basketball players and one basketball prospect. The benefits came as compensation from a summer internship program, which included housing, $520 in cash, local transportation, iPads, meals and access to a local gym.

Another donor provided benefits to the families of 11 student-athletes (a Level II violation), including reduced rates at a hotel along with meals and a ride on a recreational boat. A student-manager also provided transportation for several basketball players to the hotel from the Mizzou campus.

Other violations involve the failure to monitor the internship program, as well as housing assistance and free meals.

Head coach Kim Anderson, who took over from Haith at the start of the 2014 season, released the following statement:

"We are obviously very disappointed that the actions of a few individuals have put our program in this situation. However, I am appreciative to Mack Rhoades and our staff for their guidance and support throughout this process. I hurt for our kids more than anything and for our only senior Ryan Rosburg in particular, but I am confident we will overcome this and be stronger as a team and as a staff because of it. We are committed to representing this great university and state with honor and integrity and that's what we are going to do."

Mizzou Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades said the school has taken "many proactive steps to address concerns, including appropriate self-imposed sanctions," adding:

"We will win at Mizzou and do so with integrity and class. I am satisfied the University fully cooperated with the NCAA and will continue to do so. We must do better and we will. Our working relationship with the current men's basketball staff is strong and I am confident in their commitment to upholding our standards and values for Mizzou Athletics."

The university said the infractions occurred under the previous basketball staff and that there is no evidence that any current staff were aware of the violations.

“I think it’s unfair in a way to penalize the players that are there that haven’t done anything wrong, it’s got to be an empty feeling to know at the end of the day no matter how well you play you aren’t going to reap any rewards,” said James Stigall, a Missouri football player who graduated in 2009.

"I’m surprised by this, when I was getting recruited as a scholarship football athlete, it was, 'hey we can’t talk to you at these times, we can talk to you at these times.' It was very by the book,” Stigall said.

Along with vacating the 2013-2014 wins, the university said it has permanently disassociated the donor involved in the Level I infraction, and disassociated the donor involved in the Level II infraction for two years.

The university will also pay a $5,000 fine, as well as losing one men's basketball scholarship in the 2015-2016 season and another scholarship loss to be incurred no later than the 2017-2018 season, and restrictions have been placed on recruiting activities through the 2016-2017 season.

The university also imposed a one-year ban on postseason play, meaning Mizzou will not be eligible for NCAA or SEC tournaments in March, nor will the university receive any revenue from said tournaments.

Wednesday's developments were a major topic of discussion on 610 Sports Radio's The Drive.

Following the show, host Carrington Harrison said even if the NCAA takes no further action, the effects for the program could be far-reaching.

“It always permeates through, it always trickles down, now recruits hear about this, are they still going to want to come to Missouri? Situations like this they don’t just end on days like today; they linger on for possibly years,” Harrison said.

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