Mississippi State’s football and men’s basketball teams have been placed on three years probation after an investigation concluded that a tutor committed academic misconduct in aiding 10 members of the football team and one basketball player in an online general chemistry course during the fall semester of the 2018-19 school year.
The NCAA and Mississippi State found that the part-time tutor, a student who has been disassociated from the university and been given a 10-year show-cause order, had “completed multiple assignments, exams and, in some instances, nearly the entire course for student-athletes.”
Both the football and men’s basketball team will vacate wins as part of the negotiated resolution agreement with the NCAA, but there are no postseason bans for either program.
According to the negotiated resolution’s findings, the tutor completed coursework for the basketball players and football players in exchange for cash payments, which ranged from $60 to $350. The tutor refused an interview request from the enforcement staff.
Among the mitigating factors cited was the university’s prompt “self-detection and self-disclosure of the violations.”
Other penalties include:
• 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.
• 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.
No suspensions have been announced and, according to school policy, the names of players held out due to injury or other matters aren’t disclosed until game day.
Mississippi State president Mark Keenum said in a statement that “our commitment to operating a competitive athletic program within NCAA guidelines is unwavering.”
“Our staff at Mississippi State was proactive in our preventative measures, quick to respond, and worked in full cooperation with the NCAA enforcement staff,” said Mississippi State director of athletics John Cohen. “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.”