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Statements from leaders regarding recent NCAA sanctions

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Christian Basi

February 01, 2019

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Today, University of Missouri leaders released statements regarding the recent NCAA sanctions levied against MU. They join statements by federal, state and other civic leaders from the past 24 hours.

Jon Sundvold, Chair of the University of Missouri Board of Curators
The NCAA Committee on Infractions made a mistake yesterday. We expect leadership from institutions to admit when they make a mistake, correct that mistake and move forward. The NCAA should do the same. As David Roberts, NCAA Committee on Infractions panel chief officer, said, “Missouri did the right thing.” I now expect the NCAA to do the right thing.

“If it doesn't, a dangerous precedent has been set. When an individual acts independently of their employer, violates rules, commits extortion and shops her accusations to the highest bidder, why would that institution be punished unjustly after doing the right thing?

“Inconsistent actions by the NCAA continue to erode its credibility. If it doesn’t admit and correct this unprecedented fault, many Power Five schools, like Missouri, will question the need for the NCAA as a governing body.

“As our appeal moves forward, I appreciate the support of the SEC and Commissioner Greg Sankey. When Mizzou wins the SEC East next year, he should do the right thing and invite one of its good standing members to play in the SEC Championship game.”

Mun Choi, University of Missouri System President
“As the leader of a university system that prides itself on being held accountable, I find the sanctions against the University of Missouri-Columbia to be shockingly inappropriate and not to the standards of fairness that we expect of our governing bodies. These sanctions amount to being punished for doing the right thing. Our job is to educate young men and women to be future leaders, which includes learning how to take responsibility and expect consequences when appropriate. This decision by the NCAA, which punishes those who have nothing to do with the violation, undermines that work.

“We as Missourians value hard work and telling the truth. I encourage everyone to stand with us and raise your voices as we fight not just for Mizzou, but also to defend these values.”



Roy Blunt, U.S. Senator (R-Mo.)
“I completely disagree with the sanctions announced by the NCAA against the University of Missouri. From the NCAA’s own report, it was clear that the university was transparent and did the right thing by reporting both the tutor’s actions and the involvement of a small number of players. I strongly encourage the NCAA to take another look at this case and not punish today’s upstanding Mizzou athletes because of isolated violations that occurred years ago. I stand with Chancellor Cartwright, Athletic Director Jim Sterk, and the Mizzou family in questioning the fairness of these overly punitive sanctions. Mizzou and the state of Missouri deserve a second look at the facts of this case.”

Caleb Rowden, Missouri Senate Majority Leader
“The decision by the NCAA against MIZZOU today is disheartening at best and incompetent at worst. The NCAA’s own report refuted any systemic issue or involvement and said MIZZOU handled the situation as they should have. This decision tells other college programs that doing the right thing should be a last resort, and will undoubtedly cause many to lose what little faith they had left in the NCAA.

“The response (Thursday) from Chancellor Cartwright, Jim Sterk and Coach Odom makes me proud as ever to be a MIZZOU Tiger. I am thankful for their unified resolve to fight these far-reaching sanctions and want these leaders to know that many around our state are standing behind them”

Craig Roberts, Chair of the MU Intercollegiate Athletics Committee and Professor of Plant Sciences
“The University of Missouri has in place a faculty-led committee that interacts with the Athletics Department and reports to the MU Chancellor. Professors on this committee become familiar with all aspects of the Athletics Department, including academic matters.

“It has been our observation that MU Athletics operates at a high level of integrity. We saw that integrity playing out in this specific case. The compliance office in the Athletics Department notified us when these infractions came to light. They took immediate action. And they disclosed it in full to the NCAA.

“It has also been our observation that this integrity is the highest priority of MU Athletics and is expected of everyone in the department. The director, Jim Sterk, operates under the mantra of “Win It Right.” He requires every staff member and student-athlete to play by the rules and has zero tolerance for violation of these rules, especially rules regarding academic achievement.

“The faculty, staff, students and alumni who have served on this committee are very pleased with the value system and the day-to-day operation of the MU Athletics Department.”

Greg Sankey, SEC Commissioner
“We have received and reviewed the Committee on Infractions report involving the University of Missouri. We are seeking to understand the committee’s decision related to the severity of the penalties applied to Missouri, particularly in light of the university’s exemplary cooperation in the case. Consistent with our standard approach to support member universities, the SEC Office stands ready to advise and assist in Missouri’s appeal process.”

Alexander N. Cartwright, MU Chancellor
“Under Jim Sterk’s tremendous leadership, he has instilled a culture of integrity and purpose in our program and has been a champion for academic excellence. His commitment to the “Win it Right” attitude is on display within Mizzou athletics and our talented student-athletes. As we appeal this harsh and inconsistent decision, we are fortunate to have a leader of Jim’s ability to lead our program and our athletes. We are grateful to our alumni, friends and supporters for their support and commitment to Mizzou athletics, which we all know plays a vital role at this great university.”

Jim Sterk, MU Director of Athletics
“Once these issues were brought to our attention in November 2016, the university moved swiftly and fully cooperated with the NCAA Enforcement staff to jointly investigate the allegations that were made. We are shocked and dismayed by the penalties that have been imposed today and will aggressively fight for what is right.

“The Committee on Infractions has abused its discretion in applying penalties in this case, and the University will immediately appeal this decision that has placed unfair penalties on our department and programs. It is hard to fathom that the University could be cited for exemplary cooperation throughout this case, and yet end up with these unprecedented penalties that could unfairly and adversely impact innocent current and future Mizzou student-athletes.

“It is important to note that this was the action of one individual, who acted unilaterally and outside of the expectations that we have established for our staff members.

“I assure our alumni, friends and our community that the deeply disappointing actions of that one individual do not reflect the values and expectations we hold for our staff. Mizzou coaches, student-athletes and staff are committed to upholding our core values of respect, integrity, gratitude, humility and togetherness. We will move forward living up to our frequently stated ideal of “Win it Right” and vigorously defend this unjust penalty.”

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