By Ben Krakow
The NCAA came down hard on Missouri on Thursday.
There is a lot still unknown about what will be impact of the sanctions placed by the NCAA on Mizzou’s football, baseball and softball programs, as a result of the alleged academic fraud, but there is some information- and we can speculate.
The appeals process by the NCAA usually takes at least 110 days- if not longer, according to its guidelines. The baseball and softball postseasons, which include conference tournaments, will take place at about the 110 day mark; again, if not sooner, based on when Missouri’s appeal is filed. There appear to be some guidelines that allow the postseason bans to be pushed back another year if the appeals process is still taking place.
If the postseason bans stay in place for baseball and softball despite the appeals process, both teams would soon be starting seasons that have very little meaning- besides growing the program during the regular season. There would be no postseason goal for either team, and one would wonder about the impact it would have on the players and coaching staff during the season. Transfer impact would likely be low with the season starting imminently- unless there were some senior players who decided to sit out the year as a redshirt and grad transfer somewhere else for the following year. Even without a postseason ban, there is no guarantee the baseball and softball programs would qualify for the SEC tournament, let alone the NCAA tournament, as both programs finished near the bottom of the SEC last year.
On the football side of things, the situation is a bit more complex. The appeals process would likely be finished before the season started- but the committee did recommend that seniors be allowed to transfer without having to sit out a year. Players that intend to transfer would likely not choose to wait until the appeals process was over before deciding whether to leave. This includes graduate transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant who is set to play his first and only season for Missouri after transferring from Clemson. But according to Woody Wommack of Rivals, and Matt Connolly, a Clemson beat writer for The State, Bryant plans on staying at MU and playing the season. A source told Wommack, “He likes what he’s got going there and he’s going to play his 12 games and try to go undefeated.”
There are other key seniors on the Missouri roster whose futures are unknown including wide receivers Johnathon Johnson and Jonathan Nance (a graduate transfer from Arkansas), offensive linemen Yasir Durant and Tre’Vour Wallace-Sims, linebackers Cale Garrett and Ronnell Perkins and cornerback Demarcus Acy. Other players including signees from this year’s recruiting class could look to transfer and receive a waiver from the NCAA to play next year without sitting out, but it’s too early and unknown to speculate the names of those players.
The postseason ban could be significant for Missouri if it is upheld, because this was a team already picked by many to potentially win double-digit games next year with their eyes on a New Year’s Six bowl game due to the roster they have returning including the addition of Bryant, and the relative expected ease of their schedule next season coming off of an eight win season last season.
In addition, some of the other penalties outside of the postseason bans could impact MU programs. A $5,000 fine, plus one percent of the football, baseball and softball budgets could certainly impact an athletic department that has been operating in the red the last two years. Multiple news outlets reported yesterday that the operating deficit was significantly less in 2018 compared to 2017, but nonetheless still “in the red,” that is, operating at a deficit.
Missouri’s impacted programs (football, baseball and softball) were also hit with a seven-week ban on unofficial recruiting visits, a 12.5 percent reduction in official recruiting visits, a seven-week ban on recruiting communications, a seven-week ban on all off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations and a 12.5 percent reduction in recruiting-person or evaluation days plus scholarship limits. These could all impact MU recruiting significantly especially MU football with signing day next week and Missouri looking to finish out its class after signing most recruits during the relatively new early signing day in December. It’s not clear if the recruiting bans would be postponed during the appeals process, or if they would immediately take place.
It should also be noted that all three head coaches- Barry Odom, football, Steve Bieser, baseball and Larissa Anderson, softball- were not the head coaches of the programs when the violations took place. Only Odom was at MU. Kendall Rodgers, co-managing editor of d1baseball.com, wrote on twitter that he confirmed that no current Missouri baseball players will be impacted from an eligibility standpoint. It is not clear with football and softball if that will also be the case.
AJ Logan and TJ Warren, two members of the football program that are no longer on the team due to graduation (Logan) and transfer (Warren), both were suspended for six games at the start of the 2017 season due to their involvement with the case.
This is a consequential day that will haunt the memories of Missouri fans for a long time to come, and perhaps have a significant impact on the perception and viability of the NCAA and its ability to punish programs for violations.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org | Story updated 2/1/2019 at 8:21 AM