KANSAS CITY — Fans attending the Missouri men’s basketball game against Oklahoma in the Hall of Fame Classic had much to share about the decision regarding the NCAA sanctions against the Tigers’ football, softball and baseball teams Tuesday.
The NCAA Infraction Appeals Committee announced earlier Tuesday that it will uphold postseason bans for Missouri’s football, softball and baseball teams that were first levied Jan. 31.
Along with postseason bans, the NCAA handed the MU Athletic programs involved the following: a 5% reduction in scholarships for the upcoming academic year, a $5,000 fine, a 1% decrease in budgets for those three programs, a seven-week ban on recruiting communication and unofficial visits, vacated wins and a three-year department-wide probation.
The NCAA investigated MU after the university conducted its own investigation of academic dishonesty allegations in November 2016, where the university found that former tutor Yolanda Kumar completed course work for 12 student-athletes.
The findings also showed that Kumar took an entire math course for one student-athlete and finished work for two others on placement exams, along with completing work from other schools for six of MU’s student-athletes.
This violated the NCAA ethical conduct, academic misconduct and academic extra benefits rules. Kumar and the student-athletes are all no longer a part of the university.
MU chancellor Alexander Cartwright and athletic director Jim Sterk said in a statement released Tuesday that they 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.”
Sterk said shock set in at first after receiving the result, which later turned to anger.
Fans in Kansas City waiting for Missouri’s basketball game against the Sooners shared similar feelings to Sterk.
Jimmy Cahill graduated from MU in 1994 with a major in sports management, and he thinks the NCAA made the wrong decision.
“I think it sets a bad precedent because you’re asking people to basically lie and deny and deny, and hopefully not get anything done against you,” Cahill said. “It’s very disappointing as an alumni and as a fan to see that the NCAA’s ruling was that way.”
Dejuan Trent shared the feeling of disappointment, considering MU self-reported the violations.
“To wait so long is the most disappointing thing. It was ridiculous,” he said. “Totally disappointed, but we’ll be okay. Missouri’s been through something like this before. We can fight back.”
Paul Ellis feels bad for the seniors on each program and had some choice words for the NCAA.
“I think the NCAA is a joke. I think they’ve always been a joke and they will continue to be a joke,” Ellis said. “They don’t care anything about the student-athletes. They just care about their profits.”
“We did the right thing and we’re getting punished for it to the extreme,” Sheila Wogomon, whose daughter Grace Wogomon is a freshman at MU, said. “I don’t like it.”
Grace Wogomon agreed, saying the sanctions shouldn’t have occurred.
Jim Hawkins grew up in Kansas City, but is from Columbia, and is surprised the NCAA denied the appeal.
“It just seems like it’s a travesty,” he said.
Mike Spotts said it was hard to see if it was justifiable compared to what other schools, such as Mississippi State and North Carolina, did.
“You hear of all these other schools giving players money, falsifying grades and having classes that don’t even exist,” Spotts said. “Missouri turns itself in, fires the tutor, the kids that were involved were suspended, so it was all taken care of, and now they come in and drop a bomb on them.”
Charles Key feels that the NCAA has always been this way and is only looking to make examples out of universities.
“I’m a Missouri fan, but if that’s the case, I feel sorry for Kansas because they’re probably really going to get it. And anybody else, for that matter,” he said.
Cartwright added in a statement at Tuesday’s press conference that the worst part about all of this is the amount of hurt this does to MU’s student-athletes.
“Sometimes, you’re not rewarded for doing what’s right. But we will continue to do what’s right. We’ll continue to stand for those principles,” Cartwright said.