STARKVILLE — A February trip to Arkansas was among the highlights of coach Chris Jans’ first season with Mississippi State basketball. Desperately needing a boost for its bubble hopes, MSU went into Bud Walton Arena and escaped with a 70-64 win.
However, the game came with a pair of NCAA violations that Mississippi State self-reported, according to documents the Clarion Ledger acquired through a public records request.
The four the violations in the most recent findings were labeled Level III violations – the least serious classification.
On Feb. 11, a member of MSU’s staff provided tickets for a high school coach and family members. The violation was discovered that same day when a compliance staffer noticed the high school coach signed in as such on Arkansas’ guest list while his family came through the MSU list.
The coach knew he couldn’t get tickets for himself from MSU, so he went through Arkansas. But he asked MSU to provide tickets for his family and some managers from his team. A member of MSU’s staff asked compliance about the request and was told no for the managers.
The MSU staffer though it was OK to provide tickets for family members as none were the age of potential student athletes. MSU basketball’s staff also stated they aren’t and haven’t recruited any prospects associated with the high school coach.
MSU took action by prohibiting contact with any prospects associated with the high school coach for 90 days. No more than one on-campus contact will be allowed for prospects associated with the coach in their junior and senior years. The SEC accepted MSU’s action and added a 15-day on-campus recruiting ban for the MSU staffer.
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The same trip saw a similar violation as an assistant provided tickets for an individual associated with prospects. The individual was given two tickets, and the violation was discovered in large part because he complained about the location of his seats.
The individual claimed he should’ve been seated behind MSU’s bench. After the complaint, a compliance officer researched the individual on social media and saw he markets himself as a personal trainer for basketball players.
The MSU assistant apologized when informed of the violation and said he’d known the individual for 15 years. They developed a relationship when the individual wasn’t a trainer as he helped the MSU assistant financially through tough times and became a mentor. MSU also wasn’t recruiting anyone associated with the individual.
MSU took similar action from the other violation from the trip, and the SEC added no further penalty.
MSU football’s civic engagement
On Nov. 21, MSU football scheduled Cece Huddleston and Brielle Morton of the Legal Defense Fund to speak virtually as part of civic engagement programming. The plans were arranged a few days prior when MSU’s staff was made aware the event needed to take place on an off day.
However, no off days were scheduled within 15 days of Election Day. MSU went on as scheduled. The SEC took no action for the violation.
Men’s basketball workout violation
MSU basketball self-reported a skill instruction violation from July 29 when a workout that should’ve lasted 45 minutes went 90 minutes. Mississippi State claimed since the team was still not fully staffed as Jans took over for Ben Howland, the violation was not intentional.
Workouts were reduced by 90 minutes for the week of Oct. 2, as part of MSU’s action. The SEC added no further penalty.
Stefan Krajisnik is the Mississippi State beat writer for the Clarion Ledger. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @skrajisnik3.