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MU joins Notre Dame, Florida St., others, to be punished for academic dishonesty | National

The University of Missouri football, baseball and softball programs were slugged with postseason bans Thursday morning. 

The bans, for the 2018-19 season for the softball and baseball programs and the 2019-20 season for football, are due to fraudulent academic behavior on the part of a former tutor, Yolanda Kumar. According to the official NCAA release, Kumar “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.”

In addition to the postseason bans, the consequences MU face include, but are not limited to, “three years of probation, a 10-year show-cause order for the former tutor, … a vacation of records in which football, baseball and softball student-athletes competed while ineligible, … 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 and fine of $5,000 plus 1 percent of each of the football, baseball and softball budgets.”

The university has also implemented a self-imposed disassociation with Kumar.

When a school is ensnared in a situation like the one in which MU finds itself, looking back at similar incidents can help add some context to the overall story.

In this case, there are several examples of schools being investigated for, and in most instances, being found guilty of, similar charges of academic fraud. With varying degrees of punishment handed down by the NCAA, each school’s story helps paint a picture as to what MU, and fans of its sports programs, might expect when the NCAA appeals committee decides to uphold or lessen the sanctions.

University of Kansas graduate assistant provided answers to tests

In a 2005 revelation, it was determined that a KU graduate assistant provided test answers to two prospective junior college football transfers. A basketball booster for the school also provided “improper benefits” to two players, one of whom was still a recruiter when the two parties first came in contact with each other.

Then Athletic Director Lew Perkins did not file an appeal, admitting to the above infractions as well as allowing students to “share answers when completing online courses.” Perkins made it clear that the university self-reported these violations.

After self-imposing a 2-year probation, Kansas had an extra year tacked on by the NCAA Division I Committee. Additionally, KU had three football scholarships and one men’s basketball scholarship cut for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.  

Syracuse athletic department officials wrote essay for star player

The Syracuse University athletic department was found guilty of a litany of behavior violating the NCAA’s rules concerning academic dishonesty.

When former Orange star center Fab Melo was declared ineligible for the 2012 NCAA Tournament due to poor academic performance, athletic department officials went to great lengths to try to get him back on the court. Reportedly, Melo had an opportunity to earn a better grade in a course if he could write “a 4-5 page paper outlining the medical and personal problems he had dealt with since enrolling in school.”

Unfortunately for Melo, his first attempt did not garner the grade he needed to re-earn eligibility because of a lack of “proper citation.” After turning in a second attempt, Melo’s grade was changed from a C- to a B-.

Red flags automatically went off at the NCAA’s offices, leading to an investigation that found Melo was not the author of the paper. It appeared the scheme was conducted by Director of Basketball Operations Stan Kissel and a receptionist by the name of Debora Belanger. It was even found that Kissel would pose as players, using their emails to correspond with professors.

Due to these serious violations, the NCAA struck down upon Syracuse a cut of 12 basketball scholarships, a 9-game suspension for head coach Jim Boeheim, a vacation of 108 wins and 5 years of probation for both the basketball and football programs.

Additionally, the university’s usual access to four off-campus recruiters was reduced to two from the period of June 1, 2015, to May 31, 2017. The Orange also had to pay a $1 million fine on top of a $500 fine for each game participated in by an ineligible player.

Florida State staff members took tests, wrote papers for students across 10 sports

In an incident involving 61 student-athletes from the Seminole football, baseball, softball, men’s golf and men’s and women’s basketball, track and swimming programs, a tutor, academic adviser and learning specialists fraudulently took tests and wrote papers, roughly from a period of 1996-2006.

It appeared that a large amount of the violations surrounded a music course taken by many student-athletes.

Though no players were named in the report, 23 football players were suspended from participating in the 2007 Music City Bowl.  

In addition to the above, self-imposed punishment placed on the football team, the NCAA gutted scholarships from 10 FSU teams and enforced a 4-year probation on the university.

Notre Dame trainer completed courses for football players

According to the NCAA, a Notre Dame trainer “partially or wholly completed numerous academic assignments” for several students and provided improper academic benefits over 18 courses.

The trainer in question claimed that “her intention was only to ‘help’ student-athletes in the institution’s academic environment.” Nonetheless, the Fighting Irish still faced stiff sanctions from the NCAA, including a “one-year probation, a two-year show-cause order for the trainer to be hired again, and vacation of all records for games in which the players participated during the 2012 and 2013 football seasons.”

The only consequence Notre Dame contested was the vacation of all 21 of its wins from 2012-13, the former of which was the year it finished runner-up to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.

While the university did file an appeal against its sanctions, it was not successful.

North Carolina academic counselors suggested assignments, grades for student-athletes

From the fall of 2002 to the spring of 2011, academic counselors at the University of North Carolina engaged in efforts to encourage “benefits ‘not generally available to the student body.’”

Some of their actions included suggesting to professors, in the department formerly known as African and Afro-American Studies, assignments and grades for student-athletes.

One counselor, Jan Boxill, who worked with the women’s basketball team, went as far as to edit a student’s paper.

Two former African and Afro-American Studies staff members, office administrator Deborah Crowder and department chairman Julius Nyang’oro, refused to cooperate with the NCAA investigation.

Additionally, the NCAA charged UNC for not “sufficiently (monitoring)” the practices of the African and Afro-American Studies department.

Despite these charges, UNC faced no punishment from the NCAA.

Supervising editor is Reed Koutelas. 

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