Almost the entirety of Missouri’s athletic year has been shrouded by the cloud of NCAA sanctions and the ensuing appeal.
Wednesday marked the first full day since Jan. 30 without uncertainty over the outcome.
The NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee sent notice late Monday night to MU athletics that all previously announced sanctions would be upheld. That fact became public knowledge Tuesday.
“There was no logic in today’s decision and result,” MU athletic director Jim Sterk said Tuesday during a news conference at the Sprint Center. “This ruling is another example of frustration from our membership of the NCAA being consistently inconsistent.”
Now that Missouri’s 19-week wait for a decision on its appeal has ended, there are more questions than answers about its lingering effects.
The athletic department will not gain a projected $9-10 million in revenue given out by the Southeastern Conference from postseason events such as bowl games, the SEC championship game and the College Football Playoff, should the likely event of a conference team making the four-team national title event occur.
MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said the athletic department will make up for lost revenue through a loan from other university resources. Sterk said that it is a similar process to when MU was at a deficit during the transition from the Big 12 Conference to the SEC.
The university can attain half its missed revenue from this school year in five years if it isn't penalized further by the NCAA.
On a national scale, Missouri views its failed appeal as a landmark case for compliance among all NCAA member institutions.
“We are concerned about what it means moving forward for all of the membership of the NCAA in terms of how we manage compliance issues. The NCAA in this decision has made it difficult for us to determine what should be done whenever there is a compliance case,” Cartwright said. “... I’m not sure if it is encouraging or discouraging compliance and integrity.”
Both Sterk and Cartwright said they wouldn’t change anything about Missouri’s three-year process from reporting violations in November 2016 to Tuesday, when the appeal’s denial became public.
The timing of the decision appears harsh, with Missouri football playing its final game of 2019 on Friday afternoon against Arkansas in Little Rock.
In the immediate future, seniors and graduate students in football, baseball and softball now know their final collegiate athletic season will conclude without a postseason game. The 5-6 football team was in a must-win scenario facing Arkansas to be ensured a bowl, pending the NCAA decision.
Now, that sixth win can only be for pride.
Sterk said after consulting with lawyers, there’s no legal recourse that can be taken against the NCAA's decision – meaning no lawsuit or further litigation of any kind will follow.
Tuesday was the painful final chapter of this saga for the Tigers.
“We will continue to push for reform,” Cartwright said. “I think we owe it to the membership as a whole. We owe it to our fellow SEC schools that we push for the reform that makes our entire process better.”
Cartwright continued: “If we found out that something was happening, we would immediately self-report (in the future). We would immediately work with the enforcement staff. We would do all the things that we did. We would certainly hope that we'd get a different outcome. It’s the right thing to do.”
“It’s an NCAA rule,” Sterk said of complying.