The NCAA has concluded that a Mississippi State student and part-time athletics department tutor committed academic misconduct in an online general chemistry course to aid 10 football student-athletes and a men’s basketball student-athlete.
Both the university and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed through the NCAA's new resolution process that the former tutor completed multiple assignments, exams and, in some instances, nearly the entire course for student-athletes.
As a result of the academic misconduct, the agreement said eight football student-athletes and the men’s basketball student-athlete competed while ineligible.
The penalties approved by the Committee on Infractions are detailed below:
- A fine of $5,000, plus 1 percent each of the football and men’s basketball budgets
- A reduction of two football scholarships during each of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years
- A reduction of one men’s basketball scholarship during the 2020-21 academic year
- A reduction of four football official visits from the program’s four-year average of 40 visits during the 2019-20 academic year
- A reduction of two men’s basketball official visits from the program’s four-year average of 10 visits during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 rolling two-year period
- A prohibition of football unofficial visits during one home contest for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years
- A prohibition of men’s basketball unofficial visits during two home contests for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years
- A reduction of football evaluation days by two in the fall 2019 and 10 in spring 2020
- A reduction of men’s basketball recruiting-person days by six in the spring of 2020
- Three years of probation
- A vacation of records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible — the university must provide a written report containing the contests impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release
- A disassociation of the former tutor
- All involved student-athletes must conduct one rules education session on the consequences of academic misconduct
- Participation in the National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals program review and Academic Integrity Assessment process
- A 10-year show-cause order for the former tutor — during that period, any NCAA member school employing her must restrict her from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply
The NCAA's decision to let Mississippi State off without a postseason ban while the University of Missouri received a bowl ban for a tutor completing coursework for 12 student-athletes has some up in arms.
For his part, Mizzou AD Jim Sterk released the following statement via the St. Louis Dispatch in reaction to the decision:
“In response to many questions we have received in regard to today’s NCAA infractions case decision involving another Division I institution, it is important to note that the University of Missouri did not have the opportunity to utilize the NCAA’s new negotiated resolution process because our case was already in process when the organization’s membership adopted it.
“We believe that the penalties imposed in the recently decided and factually similar case further illustrate that the penalties imposed on Mizzou were excessive and inconsistent with previous case precedent. We have never wavered from our stance or the merits of our appeal and remain hopeful it will be successful.
“Thanks to the incredible work of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, Mizzou is poised to have a breakout year across many sports, and we look forward to resolving this in the future so we can move forward as a University and continue to Win it Right.”