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Missouri faces postseason ban

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The 2019 college baseball season begins in a few weeks, but unless an appeal is successful or a stay is granted, Missouri’s postseason hopes for later this spring are over before the season even started.

Such a reality would be devastating for head coach Steve Bieser, his staff and players, and the postseason ban stems from an NCAA investigation into a tutor, who according to NCAA documents, completed coursework for 12 student athletes.

The penalties handed down by the NCAA were stiff. Baseball, softball and football received postseason bans for the upcoming seasons, while the baseball program received a five percent reduction in scholarships for the next year. Additionally, the athletic department must pay a $5K fine, plus 1 percent of baseball’s operating budget, while the program must deal with some recruiting restrictions.

It’s worth noting the infractions took place before Bieser and his staff arrived in Columbia, occurring instead during the Tim Jamieson era. Additionally, no players on the current Missouri roster were involved in the infractions, thus no further penalties will be handed down to individual players regarding their eligibility for the upcoming season.

The most important prong of the penalties brought down on the Tigers is the postseason ban. Though Missouri is appealing the NCAA’s postseason ban, getting that decision reversed seems like a long shot. The Tigers could still make the postseason at the end of the spring if a stay is granted because of the appeal or the decision is overturned. The NCAA appeals process has a tendency to take a significant amount of time, but it’s unknown if this situation would be expedited or not.

Furthermore, there had been questions earlier Thursday about Mizzou’s eligibility for the SEC Tournament. But per the infractions report, teams put on a postseason ban may not compete in conference tournaments at the conclusion of the regular season. Therefore, if the Tigers, for instance, were the 12th team in the SEC standings at the end of the regular season, the 13th team, instead, would be inserted into the SEC tourney field.

This is no way to begin the college baseball season if you’re the Tigers. But this Missouri coaching staff is no stranger to drama and weird circumstances. Just a few days after Bieser was hired back in 2016, then athletic director Mack Rhoades abruptly left his post to take the same job at Baylor University. Therefore, all the plans and assurances Rhoades had made to the new Missouri staff from a facilities and commitment standpoint went to the wayside and have yet to be completed by now athletic director Jim Sterk.

This situation just adds to the bubbling frustration in Columbia. Missouri finished the 2018 campaign with a 34-22 record and a trip to the SEC Tournament. It was picked to finish last in the SEC Eastern Division this season in our SEC Preview.

The 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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