The National Collegiate Athletic Association has penalized Mississippi State University with reductions in football scholarship and recruiting privileges, the Division I Committee on Infractions announced Friday. In the “serious case,” detailed in the public infractions report, a booster called a star prospect more than 100 times and provided him with impermissible benefits, including a car at $2,000 below its actual value and an offer of $6,000 if the recruit turned down a visit to another university. Additionally, a former assistant coach was cited for unethical contact for failing to report the rules violations and then lying to NCAA and Mississippi State officials during the investigation.
“This is a classic case where a booster inserts himself into the recruiting process in an effort to help his school land the prize recruit so they’ll be better positioned to win more games,” Britton Banowsky, chair of the infractions committee and commissioner of Conference USA, said on a call with reporters. “That’s always a problem. When the school, through an employee, has knowledge of it and doesn’t act, it becomes a more serious problem, obviously.”
However, Banowsky praised the cooperation of Mississippi State, which self-imposed nearly all of the penalties it received. Those include two years’ probation, a reduction in official recruiting days and visits, a football scholarship reduction last year and this year, and a one-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach, meaning any institution that wants to hire him must persuade the NCAA why the penalties against him (prohibition from recruiting and booster interaction) should not apply to him at the new institution.
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