NCAA declares Missouri men's basketball recruit Tony Mitchell ineligible

Wednesday, January 26, 2011 | 3:49 p.m. CST; updated 10:53 p.m. CST, Sunday, January 30, 2011

COLUMBIA — Tony Mitchell will not be playing for the Missouri men’s basketball team this season.

The NCAA said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon that it has declared Mitchell to be academically ineligible.

“Membership has made it a priority that prospective student-athletes be academically prepared," Kevin Lennon, vice president for academic and membership affairs at the NCAA, said in the statement. "The standards are clear and serve as the foundation for the other NCAA academic requirements that must be met once a student-athlete enters college.”

According to the NCAA statement, Mitchell was ruled ineligible on Jan. 5. Missouri then appealed to the Division I Initial Eligibility Waiver Committee, which upheld the initial decision on Jan. 13. After the initial eligibility waiver committee met, MU provided additional information to the NCAA staff. The NCAA staff reviewed the information before determining it had no impact on the decision. Missouri then decided it would not appeal the decision further.

Mitchell, a 6-foot-8-inch, 220-pound small forward, was rated by as the No. 12 high school recruit in the nation. He initially signed a letter of intent at Missouri in November 2009. But after that, questions were raised about credits Mitchell brought with him from Center of Life Academy when he transferred to Pinkston High School in Dallas. Of those credits, 14 were nontransferable, and make-up credits ended up being taken away because of disputed testing.

“I’m very disappointed for Tony and his family,” Missouri Coach Mike Anderson said in a statement. “Tony is an outstanding young man, someone that has worked diligently to attend our university. He has shown great resolve during a difficult situation, and we will continue to do whatever is allowable to help him as we move forward.”

According to the NCAA statement, Mitchell is not eligible to compete, practice or receive athletic aid.

If Mitchell still wants to compete in men's basketball at a Division 1 college in the future, he has the option of either enrolling at a junior college or only as a student, rather than a student-athlete, at a four-year school, in hopes of regaining eligibility. If Mitchell enrolls at a four-year school, he could not play basketball this season.

The Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle reported Wednesday morning that Mitchell is in the process of trying to enroll at North Texas. 

Robert "Buddy" Price, news promotion manager at North Texas, told the Missourian that, as of 1:20 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Mitchell was not yet enrolled at North Texas.

The Chronicle also reported that the only barrier to Mitchell enrolling at North Texas would be whether he meets the school’s admission standards.

Stephen Howard, director of media relations for the North Texas men’s basketball team, would not comment, stating that he cannot comment on any questions regarding recruits.

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Nelson Richter January 26, 2011 | 7:53 p.m.

Too bad he didn't enroll at KU or a Big Ten school or with Auburn then eligibility would never have been a question. Has MU ever received a favorable ruling from the NCAA?

(Report Comment)
Steven Whitaker, CRM January 27, 2011 | 8:40 p.m.

Nope Coach; Mizzou never catches a break from the NCAA; KU does receive special breaks in roundball.

(Report Comment)
Walter Lane January 27, 2011 | 9:23 p.m.

Or how about if he (TM) had kept his grades up from the very beginning then none of this would even be an issue. IJS Everyone wants to blame Frank Martin, the NCAA etc, but no one has put the responsibility on the one person they should have, TM. No one put a gun to his head and forced him into anything. Bottom line TM never should have put his fate in the hands of another. Period.

(Report Comment)

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