First-year Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk told The Star on Tuesday that there’s still no timetable for wrapping up an investigation into allegations of academic fraud with the athletic department, which surfaced five months ago.
“I would be hopeful that it could be done within the next six months, but I don’t know,” he said.
Sterk couldn’t discuss specifics of the investigation, but he did indicate that men’s basketball, which remains on probation until August under terms of self-imposed sanctions from a previous joint investigation with the NCAA, shouldn’t face additional scrutiny.
“I can tell you that it’s not specific to a team,” Sterk said. “This is an issue that we’re just dealing with (as a department) rather than anything specific (to a sport).”
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Nonetheless, Sterk said the investigation, which erupted in November when former Total Person Program tutor Yolanda Kumar went public with allegations she’d performed schoolwork for student-athletes, remains ongoing.
“I think it’s still a ways away from closure,” he said. “I don’t know that timeline, but I think there are still interviews and things like that going on.”
Kumar told The Star last month she met with Mizzou and NCAA representatives in January, but it was expected there would need to be follow-up interviews with student-athletes and other Mizzou personnel.
It’s unclear if any of those interviews have taken place or how many would need to be conducted during the course of the investigation.
Mizzou has retained Overland Park-based college sports attorney Mike Glazier of Bond, Schoeneck & King to assist with the investigation.
Sterk is hopeful the investigation won’t last several years like North Carolina’s probe, which centers on a bogus African and Afro-American Studies major that required minimal work and was plagued by unauthorized grade changes among other fraudulent practices.
Missouri’s case centers on the actions of Kumar, who alleges that she performed tests and other coursework for dozen of student-athletes across numerous sports.