Two weeks ago, MU Director of Athletics Jim Sterk announced that MU athletics intended to appeal the sanctions the NCAA Committee on Infractions placed on the department for academic fraud.
Now, it’s official.
MU athletics sent the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee its official notice of appeal Thursday afternoon, the department announced.
Lawyer Michael Glazier, who has worked alongside the athletics department on this case since 2016, will serve as lead counsel for Missouri in the appeal.
The next stop in the process will come in the form of a response from the committee. Once that response occurs, MU will have 30 days to file a written appeal.
“We believe that the Committee on Infractions abused its discretion in applying penalties to the University of Missouri athletics program, and we look forward to appearing before the appeals committee in the future to present our case,” Sterk said in the statement announcing the appeal.
The list of penalties that the NCAA Committee on Infractions imposed on Missouri includes postseason bans for Missouri football, softball and baseball, a 5-percent decrease in scholarships for those sports next year, a seven-week ban on recruiting communication and unofficial visits, vacated wins and three years of probation for the athletics department.
On Monday in a meeting with reporters, Sterk said the department expected to receive only the probation and vacated wins. Overturning the other penalties through the appeals process is “reasonable given precedent and exemplary cooperation,” Sterk added.
The investigation discovered that a former MU tutor had violated NCAA ethical conduct, academic misconduct and academic extra benefits rules when she completed various coursework that ranged from homework assignments to placement exams for 12 student-athletes, none of whom is still at MU. Nine of the 12 competed while ineligible, Associate Athletic Director Andy Humes said. Seven of the nine played football, one played baseball and one played softball.
“From our standpoint, the appropriate penalties would have been, applied across all sports, would have been no recruiting penalties and vacation of wins across all sports,” Humes said. “I think that is the appropriate, and typically seen, penalty for playing ineligible student-athletes. So when it got into postseason, recruiting and scholarships, I think it’s certainly possible that was on their mind, treating all those sports the same.”
This belief has fueled the department’s ‘Make it Right’ campaign, for which it has launched a website. Sterk said the logic behind the site stems from wanting to keep fans updated on the appeal while making clear that MU disagrees with the decision by the Committee on Infractions.
“Make it right so the appropriate penalties for the actions that were taken,” Sterk said, “and to take into consideration the mitigating circumstances around the case that exemplary cooperation, isolated part-time employee that made the violations that encouraged kids … that she would do the homework instead of the students, so academic fraud if you will.”
Supervising editor is Michael Knisley.