Mizzou leaders call NCAA’s decision ‘appalling,’ say broken system needs fixing

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The NCAA announced Tuesday that the appeals committee will uphold Mizzou’s infractions penalties that the university says resulted from the actions of “a rogue part-time employee.”

University leaders certainly aren’t biting their tongues about how unhappy they are with the decision.

Chancellor Alexander Cartwright and Athletic Director Jim Sterk held a joint news conference before the Missouri Tigers Basketball game at Sprint Center to express outrage at the decision.

“Today’s decision was certainly disappointing, but in fact appalling to have this type of conclusion to this process,”  Cartwright opened.

“Our athletic directors, chancellors and commissioners need to collectively decide where we want to go because the current system is broken,” Sterk added.

Mizzou argued it self-reported a tutor completing classwork for a dozen football, softball and baseball players in 2016 and then cooperated with the NCAA on its investigation.

The school submitted a 64-page brief to the NCAA’s appeals committee calling the sanctions overly harsh.

“That creates a really chilling effect on compliance because people look at this and wonder, ‘If we do that, what will happen?” Cartwright said Tuesday.

After all three teams were banned from the postseason — and Mississippi State wasn’t for a similar violation involving a tutor — the university launched a campaign to “Make it Right.”

“When you have exemplary cooperation and you go by the rules, you should be rewarded for that and you shouldn’t be penalized for doing things the right way,” Sterk said.

Mizzou’s athletic director said he was first shocked then angry when the appeal was denied.

He seemed on the verge of tears when he discussed the 180 student athletes, who were not involved in the academic violations years ago, who won’t get to play postseason games.

“There has to be a better way, and it’s not fair to the membership and it’s not fair to the student athletes that are hanging out for 2.5 years while a decision is being waited upon,” Sterk said.

Upset fans at the Tigers basketball game believed the university was penalized for doing the right thing and the decision sets a poor precedent.

“I don’t think anybody should ever self-report or cooperate with them. We are going to lose $8 or $9 million. That’s a lot of money,” Jim Brady said.

Missouri would have been eligible for a bowl game with a win at Arkansas on Friday.

“Dishonesty is what’s getting schools off. When schools don’t self-report, nothing happens,” William Gillespie said.

Below is the full list of penalties:

  • Three years of probation.
  • A 10-year show-cause order for the former tutor. During that period, any NCAA member school employing the tutor must restrict her from any athletically related duties.
  • A 2018-19 postseason ban for the baseball and softball programs.
  • A 2019-20 postseason ban for the football program.
  • A vacation of records in which football, baseball and softball student-athletes competed while ineligible. The university must provide a written report containing the matches impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.
  • A five-percent reduction in the amount of scholarships in each of the football, baseball and softball programs during the 2019-20 academic year.
  • Recruiting restrictions for each of the football, baseball and softball programs during the 2019-20 academic year, including:
    • A seven-week ban on unofficial visits.
    • A 12.5 percent reduction in official visits.
    • A seven-week ban on recruiting communications.
    • A seven-week ban on all off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.
    • A 12.5 percent reduction in recruiting-person or evaluation days.
  • A disassociation of the tutor. Details of the disassociation can be found in the public report (self-imposed by the university).
  • A fine of $5,000 plus 1 percent of each of the football, baseball and softball budgets.

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