A former University of Missouri tutor has blown the whistle on alleged academic fraud within the school’s athletic department.
Three months after closing an investigation into improprieties within the men’s basketball program, Mizzou announced Tuesday evening that it is under investigation again for potential NCAA rules violations.
According to a statement from the athletics department, “The University of Missouri has received allegations of potential academic rules violations by a former tutor in the Athletics Academic Services area. Consistent with our commitment to rules compliance and to operating our athletics program with integrity, we are conducting a review of the allegations. We also have informed the NCAA who is working with us on this matter. To protect the integrity of the review process, we will not comment further at this time.”
The statement did not mention any specific programs or the scope of the alleged academic misconduct, but former tutor Yolanda Kumar detailed some of the potential academic fraud in a post on her private Facebook account Tuesday afternoon.
When reached by The Star, Kumar confirmed the authenticity of the post, in which she alleges that she took or assisted with entrance exams and completed classes for student-athletes. She also apologized to her friends for her role in the alleged academic fraud.
Here is the full text of Kumar’s social-media post:
“I have knowingly participated in academic dishonesty in my position as a tutor at the University of Missouri-Columbia Intercollegiate Athletic department, which is not limited to assistance with assignments. I have taken and assisted with entrance assessment, completed entire courses, and I been present to provide assistance with online assessments. It was encouraged, promoted, and supported by at least two Academic Coordinators for athletes in revenue generating sports, however, the wide spread desperation to succeed by other student-athletes at the bottom of an inverted pyramid of the organization’s construct cross (sic) multiple sports. I self-reported on November 2 and naively wanted to close the door on the manner after seeking counsel. I immediately resigned from my position on November 7 prior to meeting with a member for compliance, general counsel, and an individual that reports to the chancellor.
“You are able to see this post because I respect and honor your thoughts of me. I wanted you to hear it from me first. I apologize for disappointing you.
“I just can’t carry this burden anymore.”
News of Missouri’s latest NCAA run-in comes 10 months after the school announced self-imposed sanctions against the men’s basketball team stemming from a sham internship program and impermissible benefits received by players and their families at Tan-Tar-A resort at Lake of the Ozarks.
Third-year basketball coach Kim Anderson’s team was banned from the 2016 postseason and forfeited two scholarships among the self-imposed sanctions, which the NCAA accepted in closing the case in August.
It’s unclear if any current players are involved in the new investigation, but the revenue-generating sports in college athletics are football and men’s basketball.
“While we recognize that there will be many questions regarding this situation, these investigations take time to ensure that we do it the right way,” Mizzou athletic director Jim Sterk, who was hired in August, said in a statement. “As always, our mission is to uphold the highest standard of academic performance and ensure the proper conduct with all of our programs.”
The Fighting Irish also were placed on probation for a year and fined $5,000, but in that case the cheating was orchestrated by a student athletic trainer unbeknownst to school officials.
If Kumar was pressured into performing academic work for student-athletes rather, as the post implies, the punishment for Mizzou could be much worse.