STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — While Mississippi State’s basketball and football programs dodged postseason bans, the NCAA has put the school on three years’ probation as part of a slew of penalties after an investigation into academic violations.
A review of the self-reported violations determined a part-time student tutor completed coursework for 10 football players and one men’s basketball player in an online class.
“Academic integrity is a core value at Mississippi State and that value guides our policies and decisions,” Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum said in a school release. “Unfortunately, young people sometimes make poor decisions and those decisions have consequences.”
Keenum noted that the school reported the violations to the NCAA and removed the student tutor from university employment after learning of “possible serious instances of academic misconduct.”
— Vacating an unspecified number of wins from the 2018 football season and the 2018-19 men’s basketball season.
— Ten Mississippi State football players also will miss eight games in the upcoming season.
— Mississippi State will lose one scholarship for the 2020-21 basketball season and two scholarships for both the 2021 and 2022 football seasons.
— The former tutor involved received a 10-year show cause penalty.
— Reduction in official visits for football and men’s basketball recruits
— The NCAA doled out an unspecified fine
The NCAA release announcing the penalties said the violations involved an online chemistry class. The release state that school officials and NCAA staffers agreed that the former tutor “completed multiple assignments, exams and, in some instances, nearly the entire course for student-athletes.”
The football players facing suspension haven’t been named. However, Mississippi State basketball player Nick Weatherspoon was suspended for the final 10 games of last season due to what was described as a “violation of team rules.” Weatherspoon is expected to sit out 11 more games in the 2019-20 season to conclude his suspension.
“Our staff at Mississippi State was proactive in our preventative measures, quick to respond, and worked in full cooperation with the NCAA enforcement staff,” athletic director John Cohen said in a statement. “With all of the compliance training that our staff and student-athletes go through on a year-round basis, it is unfortunate that a student serving as a part-time tutor was able to lead our student-athletes astray.
“Nevertheless, we take full responsibility for these actions. Mississippi State will work diligently to continue a culture of compliance and continue to take proactive measures moving forward.”