Mississippi State Responds To NCAA Rulings

He's satisfied the matter has been settled. Now Scott Stricklin hopes a lesson is learned…and not simply at Mississippi State. "This case should stand as a cautionary tale to staff and fans at all NCAA institutions," the Bulldog director of athletics said.

Stricklin made this statement following Friday's final NCAA ruling on the Will Redmond affair, though neither anyone at Mississippi State nor the national body ever mentioned the Bulldog freshman by name. The issues surrounding his recruitment in 2011-12, involving a booster acting on his own but later with knowledge by a MSU assistant coach, today resulted in a number of sanctions to the football program. Almost all penalties (see previously filed story) were self-imposed by Mississippi State beginning last fall.

The NCAA's committee on infractions, headed by Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky, accepted those suggested penalties. They also acknowledged Mississippi State's assistance in the investigation, and actions upon learning of potential violations.

Related to Friday's ruling, the NCAA's separate committee on student-athlete reinstatement has issued its own ruling on Redmond's situation. For not being truthful at first in the investigation is to be penalized one full season's eligibility, which is now considered served as he redshirted all of 2012 as a true freshman; and sit out another five games this 2013 season as a sophomore. He also must repay a sum of $2,600 for the provable benefits received, including cash gifts and sale of a car at a price deemed well below market value at the time.

University president Dr. Mark Kneenum said there is no plan to appeal.

"Integrity, ethics and responsibility are core values of Mississippi State University and that includes our intercollegiate athletics program," said Dr. Keenum in provided statement. "We work very hard at MSU to maintain the highest standards in teaching, research, and outreach and our efforts have a positive impact on our state, our region and our nation. Athletics also plays a key role on our campus, and we seek to convey the same positive image in athletic competition as we do in our academic initiatives.

"Therefore, we worked in close and full cooperation with the NCAA in every phase of this process. I am pleased that the Committee on Infractions recognized our good faith efforts to meet this issue head-on by taking swift action to administer self-imposed penalties and additional corrective actions to address the situation.

"The steps we took underscore our determination as a university, and my strong commitment to conduct the activities of our athletic department within the framework of NCAA rules and regulations. Athletic Director Scott Stricklin, Head Coach Dan Mullen and Bracky Brett, who leads MSU's NCAA compliance team, all share that strong commitment. I have the utmost confidence in their abilities to reiterate our zero tolerance for NCAA rules violations as we move forward," Keenum said.

Stricklin pointed to the established facts of a booster who "inserted himself into the recruiting process without prompting, and a staff member failed to engage the university's compliance staff once the booster's actions became obvious." That staffer, wide receivers coach Angelo Mirando, resigned last August. He was the Memphis area recruiter involved with signing Redmond.

"NCAA rules necessitate recruiting be conducted by coaches and staff, who in turn have the responsibility to remain vigilant against this type of activity by fans and others," said Stricklin. "The damage that can be done by even one so-called ‘booster' ignoring NCAA rules, or staff members who fail to report such actions, can be catastrophic."

Fortunately the damage fell short of that, not least because the issues went no higher into the MSU coaching staff than the single assistant involved.

"We're pleased the Committee on Infractions accepted our self-imposed actions and Mississippi State's full cooperation," said Stricklin. "Mississippi State has worked hard to create a culture of compliance focused on being proactive and diligent. Our university worked closely with the NCAA enforcement staff to determine all the facts of the situation and then took necessary steps to protect our school."

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