Missouri State Senator Calls NCAA a 'National Laughingstock' After Sanctions Upheld Against University of Missouri

University of Missouri
Missouri State Senator calls NCAA a "national laughingstock" following decision to uphold sanctions against University of Missouri Ed Zurga/Getty

Following the NCAA's decision to uphold sanctions against the University of Missouri, a Missouri state senator took to Twitter to criticize the NCAA, calling the organization a "national laughingstock."

Caleb Rowden, who represents the state's 19th District that includes the city of Columbia, posted the letter he addressed to the NCAA on Twitter with a caption that read "The @NCAA is a fraud – a wolf in sheep's clothing that values self-interest over the well being of their member institutions and students."

The @NCAA is a fraud — a wolf in sheep’s clothing that values self-interest over the well being of their member institutions and students.

Read my open letter to the NCAA re: today’s #MIZZOU decision. @MizzouFootball @MizzouBaseball @MizzouSoftball pic.twitter.com/Z2MgGj8psp

— Caleb Rowden (@calebrowden) November 26, 2019

His letter is alluding to sanctions placed on the University of Missouri after a 299-day long appeal process. The sanctions include a one-year postseason ban for football, softball and baseball, as well as restrictions on recruiting and scholarships.

Mizzou was placed under investigation by the NCAA in 2016 after the discovery of academic misconduct violations. According to the NCAA, a tutor (who was not named by the organization) reportedly helped athletes pass classes by taking tests or completing assignments for them. However, the tutor, who revealed herself to be Yolanda Kumar, also alleged that members of the university's athletic department administration instructed her to help other athletes with their coursework.

Following an investigation, the NCAA announced sanctions against the university in January, but Missouri filed an appeal in March and received the committee's decision on Tuesday.

"I was disappointed to hear of your decision today to uphold sanctions against MIZZOU Athletics in response to their appeal," Rowden wrote in his letter to the NCAA. "With this decision, you have proven once again why your organization has become a national laughingstock and detriment to college sports and student athletes."

Rowden's letter also touched on potential financial issues that the state of Missouri and his state district may see as a result of the NCAA's decision. "My community and our state will lose tens of millions of dollars in direct and indirect economic activity because our leadership at Mizzou decided to do the right thing," Rowden wrote.

Rowden ended his letter by saying that student-athletes "are worse off" because of the NCAA's existence while hoping for a "quick and needed departure" of the organization from "the American collegiate landscape."

The University of Missouri also spoke negatively about the sanctions in a joint press release from the Mizzou chancellor Dr. Alexander Cartwright and athletic director Jim Sterk.

"We are deeply disappointed and appalled by the NCAA Infractions Appeal Committee's decision to shirk its responsibilities and simply uphold sanctions that are not consistent with precedent or even common sense," the statement said.

That precedent could be a reference to another academic scandal at another Southeastern Conference (SEC) school. In August, Mississippi State University (MSU) was accused of violating NCAA rules when a tutor helped 10 football players and one men's basketball player complete coursework to pass classes. However, MSU was only given probation by the NCAA and did not receive a postseason ban for either sport or any additional sanctions.

"MSU, like us, acted with this highest integrity. MSU's case followed a new NCAA process that was not available to us and resulted in an outcome that, we believe, was more reasonable given the circumstances," Cartwright and Sterk wrote.