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NCAA hits MSU with sanctions

June 7, 2013

The NCAA Committee of Infractions released a statement Friday, detailing a recruiting violation by the Mississippi State football team and the penalties passed down.
MSU worked closely with the NCAA and recommended several self-imposed sanctions.
“The university did a great job of investigating and presenting the case to the committee,” Committee of Infractions Chairman Britton Banowsky said in a teleconference.
The penalties include two years of probation beginning June 7, 2013, through June 6, 2015, and a self-imposed reduction of scholarships from 85 to 83 for the 2012-13 academic year. MSU will also go from 25 to 23 initial scholarships and from 85 to 83 total scholarships for the 2013-14 academic year, endure a self-imposed reduction in the number of official visits from the four-year average 41 to 39 for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years, a self-imposed reduction of the number of recruiting days during the spring evaluation period, from 168 to 164, for the 2013-14 academic year, and for the first two conference contests of the 2013 season complimentary admissions to football recruits will be prohibited, which was also self-imposed by the university.
“We’re pleased the Committee on Infractions accepted our self-imposed actions and Mississippi State’s full cooperation,” MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a school release. “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."
The recruiting violation started in the summer of 2011 and lasted until the recruit signed a letter of intent. 
MSU was informed on Feb. 17, 2012 that the NCAA was investigating the recruiting process of Will Redmond after he signed a National Letter of Intent.
The NCAA release states a MSU booster provided impermissible benefits to Redmond and former wide receivers coach Angelo Mirando was aware and did not report the violations.
"It's a serious case because it involves an alum and booster heavily engaged in the recruitment of a star recruit and a coach who was aware of it, didn't discourage it, didn't report and wasn't honest when asked about it," Banowsky said.
Mirando was cited for "unethical conduct" for not reporting the recruiting violation and providing false information in his first two meetings with the NCAA. Mirando resigned form the university on Aug. 19, 2012. 
Mirando was hit with a one-year show-cause order, which prevents him from recruiting activities and booster interaction. 
“We are pleased this matter is now behind coach Mirando,” Mirando's attorney Jay Perry of the Starkville law firm Perry, Winfield & Wolfe, P.A. wrote in a statement. “I am happy with the NCAA for the way it handled this matter. Certainly no one wants to be involved in an NCAA matter, but in this instance the process worked.”
The NCAA has cited MSU for three major NCAA violations in the last 20 years.
“Integrity, ethics and responsibility are core values of Mississippi State University and that includes our intercollegiate athletics program," MSU President Mark E. Keenum said in a school 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,” added Keenum.
Mirando worked closely with both MSU and the NCAA in the end.
"The university and former assistant football coach involved in this case, substantially agreed with the allegations in the case," Banowsky said. "There is no dispute on the facts of the case or that major violations occurred."
The  booster, who has been dissociated with the university, arranged for Redmond to use cars, gave him cash and other benefits. The NCAA reports that the booster exchanged more than 100 phone calls with the recruit, assisted in securing a car to drive to a campus visit and provided cash to the recruit on multiple occasions. 
The booster and a friend provided Redmond with a car for approximately $2,000 below the car's actual value. The booster told Redmond that if he didn't take a visit to another school, he would pay him $6,000. 
Redmond's 7-on-7 coach, Bryan De'Vinner, was also reportedly aware of what was going on and was interviewed by the NCAA on May 1, 2012. 
An MSU release stated, "The current football student-athlete involved in this matter has been reinstated through the NCAA Student Athlete Reinstatement Process, which requires that he repay $2,660 in impermissible benefits, forfeit a year of eligibility (the 2012 season) and be withheld from competition for the first five games of the 2013 season."
Redmond, who was redshirted last season, is now considered a sophomore. Redmond's first game of eligibility will be against Bowling Green on Oct. 12. 
“This case should stand as a cautionary tale to staff and fans at all NCAA institutions," Stricklin said. "A booster 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. 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. 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.”

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