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Missouri Softball, Baseball Facing Postseason Ban In 2018-19

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The NCAA levied sanctions against Missouri baseball, football and softball, following an academic misconduct investigation of a tutor who worked with a dozen student-athletes.

Missouri’s baseball and softball programs were hit with 2018-19 postseason bans, a five percent reduction in scholarships for the 2019-20 season, as well as several other recruiting restrictions. The postseason ban is includes the SEC Tournament.

Missouri’s football program received the same scholarship reduction penalty, as well as a postseason ban in 2019-20.

The NCAA’s ruling shocked Missouri’s athletic department, which had not expected such a severe penalty to be levied just two weeks before baseball’s Opening Day.

Athletic director Jim Sterk said Thursday the school plans to appeal the ruling, adding they were "shocked and dismayed by the penalties." That appeal could at least delay Missouri’s postseason ban in baseball and softball, as the NCAA’s appellate process usually takes several months.

The full list of punishments are listed at the bottom of the page, per a release from the NCAA on Thursday afternoon.

According to the investigation, the tutor completed coursework for 12 Missouri athletes. A source said the violation occurred a few years ago, before baseball coach Steve Bieser arrived at Missouri, and the baseball players involved are no longer at Missouri.

“For most of the student-athletes,” the statement read, “the tutor completed online coursework that included assignments, quizzes or exams. She completed an entire course for one student-athlete and completed portions of a placement exam for two student-athletes.”

The tutor claimed she was pressured to complete the work by colleagues within the athletic department, per the statement, but the Division I Infractions Committee (which issued the penalty) found those claims to be unfounded.

Instead, the investigation found, the tutor carried out varying degrees of coursework split into three categories: courses offered by the university; courses offered by other schools; and a math placement exam at the university.

Missouri softball went 30-29 in 2018 and made the NCAA Tournament, losing to Oklahoma in the regionals. Missouri baseball went 34-22 in 2018 and lost in the first round of the SEC Tournament to South Carolina. The Tigers’ football team went 8-5 and lost to Oklahoma State in the Liberty Bowl.

The full list of punishments:

  • Three years of probation.
  • A 10-year show-cause order for the former tutor. During that period, any NCAA member school employing the tutor must restrict her from any athletically related duties.
  • A 2018-19 academic year postseason ban for the baseball and softball programs.
  • A 2019-20 academic year postseason ban for the football program.
  • A vacation of records in which football, baseball and softball student-athletes competed while ineligible. The university must provide a written report containing the matches impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.
  • A 5 percent reduction in the amount of scholarships in each of the football, baseball and softball programs during the 2019-20 academic year.
  • Recruiting restrictions for each of the football, baseball and softball programs during the 2019-20 academic year, including:
  • A seven-week ban on unofficial visits.
  • A 12.5 percent reduction in official visits.
  • A seven-week ban on recruiting communications.
  • A seven-week ban on all off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.
  • A 12.5 percent reduction in recruiting-person or evaluation days.
  • A disassociation of the tutor. Details of the disassociation can be found in the public report (self-imposed by the university).
  • A fine of $5,000 plus 1 percent of each of the football, baseball and softball budgets.
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