University and state leaders slam NCAA for sanctions leveled against Missouri athletic programs

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt is slamming the NCAA for sanctioning Missouri’s football, baseball and softball programs after an investigation revealed academic misconduct.

The Missouri Republican in a Friday statement urged the NCAA to take another look at the case, which involves a tutor who completed coursework for athletes. Blunt says upstanding athletes shouldn’t be punished for what he described as isolated violations.

Penalties include three years of probation and one-year postseason bans for all three programs. That means the baseball and softball teams will be ineligible for the NCAA Tournament this season and the football team will be ineligible for a bowl game this fall.

The school must also vacate all games in which the 12 students whose work was completed by the tutor participated.

Other university leaders provided the following statements:

Jon Sundvold, who is Chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators:

The NCAA Committee on Infractions made a mistake yesterday. We expect leadership from institutions to admit when they make a mistake, correct that mistake and move forward. The NCAA should do the same. As David Roberts, NCAA Committee on Infractions panel chief officer, said, “Missouri did the right thing.” I now expect the NCAA to do the right thing.

“If it doesn’t, a dangerous precedent has been set. When an individual acts independently of their employer, violates rules, commits extortion and shops her accusations to the highest bidder, why would that institution be punished unjustly after doing the right thing?

“Inconsistent actions by the NCAA continue to erode its credibility. If it doesn’t admit and correct this unprecedented fault, many Power Five schools, like Missouri, will question the need for the NCAA as a governing body.

“As our appeal moves forward, I appreciate the support of the SEC and Commissioner Greg Sankey. When Mizzou wins the SEC East next year, he should do the right thing and invite one of its good standing members to play in the SEC Championship game.”

Mun Choi, University of Missouri System President:

“As the leader of a university system that prides itself on being held accountable, I find the sanctions against the University of Missouri-Columbia to be shockingly inappropriate and not to the standards of fairness that we expect of our governing bodies. These sanctions amount to being punished for doing the right thing. Our job is to educate young men and women to be future leaders, which includes learning how to take responsibility and expect consequences when appropriate. This decision by the NCAA, which punishes those who have nothing to do with the violation, undermines that work.

We as Missourians value hard work and telling the truth. I encourage everyone to stand with us and raise your voices as we fight not just for Mizzou, but also to defend these values.”

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