Missouri is, um, not happy at the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions. Justifiably so.
In case you missed it earlier on Thursday, the NCAA released their decision banning the Tigers from the postseason in 2019 among other penalties relating to their infractions case involving academic fraud and a tutor who completed work for several student-athletes. While the outrage from fans of the program was predictable in seeing the punishment not quite fitting the crime (especially in light of other cases like at North Carolina), it’s a sentiment that appears to be shared by the Mizzou administration.
“Once these issues were brought to our attention in November 2016, the university moved swiftly and fully cooperated with the NCAA Enforcement staff to jointly investigate the allegations that were made. We are shocked and dismayed by the penalties that have been imposed today and will aggressively fight for what is right,” athletic director Jim Sterk said in a statement. “The Committee on Infractions has abused its discretion in applying penalties in this case, and the University will immediately appeal this decision that has placed unfair penalties on our department and programs. 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.”
As a result of all that, Missouri appears to be appealing the NCAA’s decision and will go through the resulting process as a result. We’re far enough out that we should get a decision in time to know if the Tigers are ineligible for the SEC title game or (more pressing) a bowl game this fall but when a final ruling comes down is anybody’s guess.
In the meantime, seniors on the football team and others with just one year of eligibility left should be allowed to transfer out of Columbia without penalty and be able to play right away at their next school according to NCAA bylaws. A report from The State however noted that highly touted Clemson transfer QB Kelly Bryant is still expected to remain with the program even in light of the decision that could result in possibly missing out on a bowl game.
It remains to be seen how many other players will actually take up the offer to transfer in the wake of the NCAA ruling but it seems the fight between the Tigers and the folks in Indianapolis is only just beginning.