Think Kelly Bryant might be having some second thoughts right about now?
In early December, it was confirmed that Bryant, the ballyhooed quarterback transfer from Clemson, had landed at Missouri and would use his final season of football eligibility with the Tigers. Nearly two months later, the NCAA announced Thursday that it has imposed steep sanctions on three Mizzou sports programs, including football.
Included in those sanctions on the football program is a postseason ban for the 2019 season. That means not only would the Tigers be barred from a bowl game, but they would also likely be excluded from the College Football Playoff and the SEC championship game should they qualify for either/both.
While the official release states “[a] 2019-20 postseason ban for the football program” has been enacted, it’s believed that the ban is for the 2019 season only, although we’re attempting to get clarification on that aspect.
Additionally, the football program was hit with a five-percent reduction in scholarships for the 2019-20 academic year as well as recruiting restrictions during the same timeframe. Those include:
- A seven-week ban on unofficial visits.
- A 12.5 percent reduction in official visits.
- A seven-week ban on recruiting communications.
- A seven-week ban on all off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.
- A 12.5 percent reduction in recruiting-person or evaluation days.
The sanctions stem from a former Mizzou tutor who the NCAA found violated “ethical conduct, academic misconduct and academic extra benefits rules when she completed academic work for 12 student-athletes.” From the NCAA’s findings:
The committee found the tutor completed math coursework from other schools for six of the student-athletes. In one instance, she completed an entire course for a football student-athlete. Missouri did not review the conduct under its honor code, but rather gave the information to the two involved schools. One of the schools found academic misconduct occurred in the case of four student-athletes who took the course at the non-NCAA school. The second school – Adams State, a Division II school – could not determine whether the conduct violated its academic misconduct policy because it did not have enough information to prove violations occurred.
The tutor also assisted two football student-athletes’ completion of Missouri’s math placement exam. Missouri requires all students take the exam to determine whether they must complete a remedial math course before enrolling in college algebra. The instructions on the exam state that the test be taken alone and without assistance, but the tutor remained in the room and assisted both student-athletes with the test questions. Missouri determined both student-athletes violated its honor code.
It’s unclear whether Missouri will appeal the sanctions, although, if they, do, it’s near-certainty they will cite the NCAA’s handling of the North Carolina academic imbroglio as the basis for having the punitive measures lessened.
The NCAA actually touched on the differences between the Mizzou and UNC cases, essentially stating that the latter stood behind what many considered to be bogus courses while the former admitted wrongdoing. From the NCAA’s Public Infractions Decision, which can be read in its entirety by clicking HERE.
The conduct at issue in this case is also distinguishable from the COI’s decision in University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2017). Among other differences, UNC stood by the courses and the grades it awarded student-athletes. In support of that position, UNC asserted that although courses were created and graded by an office secretary, student-athletes completed their own work. Here, by contrast, Missouri acknowledged that the tutor completed student-athletes’ work and, in most instances, this conduct violated its honor code.
In other words, to paraphrase the late, great Jerry Tarkanian, the NCAA was so mad at North Carolina that they gave Missouri a postseason ban.