Missouri lawmakers have not been shy about expressing their displeasure with the NCAA after the governing body hit the University of Missouri with stiff sanctions in the wake of an academic misconduct scandal — not least of all because they felt the sanctions were overly harsh and unfair.
The sanctions, which were upheld on appeal in November, have stuck in the craw of some state lawmakers, one of whom has filed a resolution in the state house accusing the NCAA of “cultivating an environment of distrust and confusion,” because of the way it hands down penalties, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.
State Rep. Greg Razer of Kansas City filed a resolution on Jan. 14, calling for both the university and the Southeastern Conference to “lead in reforming the NCAA in order to improve the ethical and moral standing of the association to ensure student-athletes and member institutions are served equally, fairly, and with integrity.”
Razer’s resolution continues, stating that if such reform proves impossible, the university and conference should consider forming a new athletic association in its place.
Among the penalties upheld by the NCAA are postseason bans for the football, softball and baseball teams, three years of probation, vacating games in which ineligible students participated, scholarship and recruiting reductions, and losses in revenue.
Those penalties, however, are much harsher than those handed down to Mississippi State for academic misconduct infractions almost identical to those at Missouri.
During the appeal effort, the athletic department adopted a campaign urging the NCAA to “Make It Right.” School officials said that the university cooperated fully with the NCAA investigation, and were deeply disappointed to see the penalties upheld, especially given the Mississippi State context.
“For nearly three years, Mizzou has accepted responsibility for a part-time tutor’s rogue actions, starting with self-reporting and addressing violations as soon as we became aware of them,” Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said in an email to the Tribune. “The fact that the NCAA has made a decision that in no way reflects Mizzou’s earnest compliance and culture of integrity raises serious concerns that the current enforcement process encourages non-compliance from institutions.
Sterk went on to say that the situation at Missouri sends a message to NCAA members not to cooperate with investigations, as there is “no incentive” to do so. He also said the result “will have a chilling effect on the ability of the NCAA to hold institutions accountable.”