Not surprisingly, Missouri’s not exactly impressed with today’s development.
Earlier Tuesday, reports surfaced that the NCAA was set to confirm that it had denied Mizzou’s appeal to lift sanctions placed on the football program, including a bowl ban for the 2019 season. In a press release a short time later, the NCAA announced that its Infractions Appeals Committee has upheld all of the sanctions placed on the school in connection to a case in which it was found “that a former Missouri tutor violated NCAA ethical conduct, academic misconduct and academic extra benefits rules when she completed academic work for 12 student-athletes.”
From the release:
When reviewing the penalties, the Infractions Appeals Committee noted that the Committee on Infractions has significant discretion in its ability to determine appropriate penalties for a case. Additionally, the Infractions Appeals Committee said it is hesitant to overturn a penalty within the appropriate penalty guidelines unless there is a clear indication of arbitrary decision-making.
In a blistering statement attributed to Chancellor Dr. Alexander Cartwright and athletic director Jim Sterk, the university blasted the governing body’s “decision to shirk its responsibilities and simply uphold sanctions that are not consistent with precedent or even common sense.” The pair described themselves as “deeply disappointed and appalled” by the committee’s decision, writing that today’s development “raises serious questions about whether the current NCAA enforcement system encourages or discourages cultures of compliance and integrity.”
Below is the university’s statement, in its entirety:
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.
We are grateful for everyone who has supported Mizzou and our “Make it Right” campaign over these last several months, and during the nearly 19 weeks it took to reach this troubling conclusion.
Today’s decision raises serious questions about whether the current NCAA enforcement system encourages or discourages cultures of compliance and integrity. While we have exhausted our NCAA appeal avenues, we will continue to advocate for meaningful reform within the NCAA enforcement process.
Today, about 180 student-athletes who had nothing to do with the actions of one rogue part-time employee will pay a steep price. NCAA enforcement officials noted that prior to the violation the university employed a robust institutional system to ensure rules compliance. Once the problem was known, we self-reported immediately, held individuals accountable and cooperated with the investigation in what NCAA officials described as “exemplary” fashion.
Meanwhile, a recent case involving Mississippi State University with similar circumstances as Mizzou’s yielded a very different result. MSU, like us, acted with the highest integrity. MSU’s case followed a new NCAA process that was not available to us and resulted in an outcome that, we believe, was more reasonable given the circumstances. The inconsistency of these decisions make it difficult for anyone to comprehend how Mizzou could receive such harsh sanctions.
In its decision on our case, the appeals committee wrote that a greater discussion and a better process is needed. We could not agree more.
It wrote: “This committee believes it is critical for the NCAA membership to discuss and evaluate the application, assessment and precedential value of infractions cases not only when parties agree on mitigating and aggravating factors, but also the appropriate precedential value and approach for cases in the entirety of the infractions processes. Doing so would better equip this committee and the Committee on Infractions in discharging its duties, and in turn improve the infractions process and yield better guidance for the membership as a whole.”
We strongly disagree that the appeals committee did not have the power to correct this mistake. The point of this process was not to use a formula to reach a conclusion, but to bring the benefit of consideration and judgement to achieve consistency with its final decision.
We know our dedicated Mizzou fans will help us right this wrong by filling the stands and rooting for our Tigers. We deeply appreciate the outpouring of support from every corner of the state and Tiger fans around the country who united behind Mizzou and our student-athletes who proudly wear the Black & Gold.