NCAA puts Mississippi State on probation after academic misconduct by 10 football players and a basketball player


Mississippi State has been placed on probation for three years after the NCAA on Friday ruled that a part-time athletics department tutor committed academic misconduct to aid 10 football players and one men's basketball player in an online general chemistry class.

The NCAA's punishment in addition to the probationary period includes a reduction in scholarships for both football and men's basketball and a reduction in official visits for both sports. Because the players were ruled ineligible, Mississippi State must also vacate records during times in which the players competed. 

The 11 players were declared ineligible by the school after admitting in February to paying a part-time tutor to do classwork for them. The names of the 11 players involved in the case have not been made public and their status was not addressed in the NCAA's report.

"The university and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that the former tutor completed multiple assignments, exams and, in some instances, nearly the entire course for student-athletes," the NCAA said in its press release announcing the news. "The university determined the activity violated its academic misconduct policy."

The full list of penalties are as follows:

  • A fine of $5,000, plus 1% each of the football and men's basketball budgets.
  • A reduction of two football scholarships during each of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years.
  • A reduction of one men's basketball scholarship during the 2020-21 academic year.
  • A reduction of four football official visits from the program's four-year average of 40 visits during the 2019-20 academic year.
  • A reduction of two men's basketball official visits from the program's four-year average of 10 visits during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 rolling two-year period.
  • A prohibition of football unofficial visits during one home contest for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years.
  • A prohibition of men's basketball unofficial visits during two home contests for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years.
  • A reduction of football evaluation days by two in the fall 2019 and 10 in spring 2020. 
  • A reduction of men's basketball recruiting-person days by six in the spring of 2020.
  • Three years of probation.
  • A vacation of records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible. The university must provide a written report containing the contests impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.
  • A disassociation of the former tutor.
  • All involved student-athletes must conduct one rules education session on the consequences of academic misconduct.
  • Participation in the National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals program review and Academic Integrity Assessment process.
  • A 10-year show-cause order for the former tutor. During that period, any NCAA member school employing her must restrict her from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.

The tutor at the center of the case did not participate in an interview with the enforcement staff in the case to discuss her involvement. As a result, the individual is facing a 10-year show cause and a disassociation from the school. 

Unlike many punishments handed down by the NCAA, Mississippi State does not have the power to appeal because the case was processed through the negotiated resolution process. The new process was used in the place of a formal hearing or disposition because the university and enforcement staff both agreed on the violations and penalties.

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