Missouri finally received its answer from the NCAA on Tuesday regarding its appeal of the sanctions handed down by the Committee on Infractions, and the ruling isn’t pretty — the Infractions Appeals Committee has decided to uphold all sanctions placed on the Missouri athletic programs involved in the case.
As you all may remember, back in January, the NCAA handed down a long list of sanctions on the Missouri football, baseball and softball programs based on an investigation that found a rogue tutor had completed schoolwork for 12 student-athletes.
The complete list can be found in the links above, but the biggest sanctions were recruiting restrictions and one-year postseason bans for each program.
Almost immediately, Mizzou Athletics and university leaders announced they would appeal the sanctions.
University of Missouri chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright called the ruling “harsh and inconsistent,” while athletic director Jim Sterk said, “It is hard to fathom that the University could be cited for exemplary cooperation throughout this case, and yet end up with these unprecedented penalties that could unfairly and adversely impact innocent current and future Mizzou student-athletes.”
Because the school filed an appeal in March, all sanctions were stayed until a hearing could take place, and the baseball and softball programs were able to play in the postseason.
The appeal was heard by the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee back in July, and initial expectations were Missouri would get back a decision sometime in September. September came and went, but no decision came with it. Surely in October the NCAA would have its decision, right?
Not so fast, as October also flew by without a ruling on the appeal.
But finally, over four months since Missouri had its appeal heard, the NCAA gave the school the answer it was dreading.
First and foremost, this means all three programs will be ineligible for the postseason this school year, since the baseball and softball programs played in their respective postseasons in 2018-19. It also means the football program, which is now officially ineligible for a bowl regardless of the outcome of Friday’s game against Arkansas, will also not be able to share in the bowl revenue generated by the Southeastern Conference.
What school officials are saying
Excerpt from a joint statement by MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright and athletic director Jim Sterk in a Mizzou Athletics press release:
“We are deeply disappointed and appalled by the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee’s decision to shirk its responsibilities and simply uphold sanctions that are not consistent with precedent or even common sense.
Despite this frustrating and disappointing outcome, the University of Missouri and Mizzou Athletics will continue to stand for integrity, and we will become stronger despite the challenges we are faced with today. We have outstanding student-athletes in all three affected programs and they are building something special here at Mizzou.”
Statements from softball coach Larissa Anderson, baseball coach Steve Bieser and football coach Barry Odom:
“I am absolutely heartbroken and disappointed by the committee’s decision to punish a group of 27 current student-athletes who didn’t play any role in this and have done everything right from the very beginning. The NCAA claims to value the student-athlete experience, but this decision continues to cause unnecessary harm to a group of innocent student-athletes. This unjust decision will not deter our program. We have pride in Mizzou, and we will continue to Win it Right as one family.” — Anderson
“Our program as a whole is clearly disappointed with today’s news from the NCAA. My heart is specifically broken for this group of student-athletes currently on the team. These student-athletes have done everything right since becoming a Tiger, but yet are cruelly penalized for the actions of one individual from years’ past. While we obviously strongly disagree with the NCAA’s final decision, we will without a doubt rally with each other and make the most of the upcoming 2020 campaign.” — Bieser
“I hate the news for our program and for our seniors who have represented the University in a very positive way. This decision negatively impacts their short experience in life as college student-athletes who had nothing to do with this situation. It’s a tough lesson to be dealt, but they will learn from this and motivationally use it later in life when hardship comes along.” — Odom
Rock M Nation will have more updates and reactions as more information becomes available.