You are here

Mississippi State tutor committed academic misconduct to aid 11 student-athletes

Download the Aug. 2019 Mississippi State Negotiated Resolution Agreement

A former Mississippi State student and part-time athletics department tutor committed academic misconduct in an online general chemistry course to aid 10 football student-athletes and a men’s basketball student-athlete, according to a negotiated resolution agreement approved by a Division I Committee on Infractions panel.

The university and the NCAA enforcement staff agreed that the former tutor completed multiple assignments, exams and, in some instances, nearly the entire course for student-athletes. The university determined the activity violated its academic misconduct policy.

As a result of the academic misconduct, the agreement said eight football student-athletes and the men’s basketball student-athlete competed while ineligible.

The agreement said the former tutor violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when she did not participate in an interview with the enforcement staff to discuss her involvement in the conduct.

This case was processed through the new negotiated resolution process. The process was used instead of a formal hearing or summary disposition because the university and the enforcement staff agreed on the violations and the penalties. The former tutor refused to participate in the process. The Division I Committee on Infractions reviewed the case to determine whether the resolution was in the best interests of the Association and whether the agreed-upon penalties were reasonable. Negotiated resolutions may not be appealed and do not set case precedent for other infractions cases.

The university and the enforcement staff used ranges identified by the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to agree upon Level I-mitigated penalties for the university. The enforcement staff also used the guidelines to identify a penalty for the former tutor. Those penalties, approved by the Committee on Infractions, are detailed below:

  • A fine of $5,000, plus 1% each of the football and men’s basketball budgets.
  • A reduction of two football scholarships during each of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years.
  • A reduction of one men’s basketball scholarship during the 2020-21 academic year.
  • A reduction of four football official visits from the program’s four-year average of 40 visits during the 2019-20 academic year.
  • A reduction of two men’s basketball official visits from the program’s four-year average of 10 visits during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 rolling two-year period.
  • A prohibition of football unofficial visits during one home contest for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years.
  • A prohibition of men’s basketball unofficial visits during two home contests for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years.
  • A reduction of football evaluation days by two in the fall 2019 and 10 in spring 2020. 
  • A reduction of men’s basketball recruiting-person days by six in the spring of 2020.
  • Three years of probation.
  • A vacation of records in which student-athletes competed while ineligible. The university must provide a written report containing the contests impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.
  • A disassociation of the former tutor.
  • All involved student-athletes must conduct one rules education session on the consequences of academic misconduct.
  • Participation in the National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals program review and Academic Integrity Assessment process.
  • A 10-year show-cause order for the former tutor. During that period, any NCAA member school employing her must restrict her from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from NCAA membership and members of the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Norman Bay, attorney in private practice; Joel Maturi, chief hearing officer for the panel and former Minnesota athletics director; and Larry Parkinson, director of enforcement for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.