University of Missouri

Missouri’s NCAA appeal is this week, what are Barry Odom’s thoughts on it?

Missouri will have its best chance to have the NCAA undo its bowl ban and recruiting restrictions from the academic scandal, as the department is expected to meet with the appeals committee “later in the week,” a source told The Star on Monday.

During the Tigers’ session at SEC media days, football coach Barry Odom and players Kelly Bryant, Cale Garrett and DeMarkus Acy were all hit with numerous questions about the situation.

Odom went out of his way to say that he was honored to be the program’s coach, because MU has yet to lose a player to transfer because of the bowl ban despite the NCAA allowing all seniors to leave MU without having to sit out the upcoming season. While reporters peppered Bryant with questions about his initial commitment to Missouri, he got just as many asking why he didn’t leave when he heard of the bowl ban.

“I was solid the day I committed,” Bryant said. “There was nothing Coach could have told me that would have changed my mind. I wanted to be at Missouri.

“We all said we have 12 games,” he added. “Let’s see what we can do with those 12 games.”

Acy echoed Bryant’s words, saying that the NCAA took away MU’s postseason, but didn’t take away the regular season, which still gives the Tigers something to play for. Schools such as Tennessee were heavily recruiting some of Missouri’s players throughout the spring, which irritated Odom, but Bryant said on Monday he hasn’t heard from any schools in months.

Senior linebacker Cale Garrett was one of a handful of players that would have had a lot of options, should he have pursued them, but couldn’t name one school that reached out to him. He never wanted to know and couldn’t see himself playing anywhere but MU, so he told his high school coach and parents to not bother telling him.

To him, it was never worth a conversation.

“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” he said. “It’s greener where you water it.”

Even though Missouri’s meeting with the appeals committee this week, there’s no concrete timetable as to when the Tigers will get an answer. Athletic director Jim Sterk has said he expects an answer around September, which is early into the season, but other schools have waited longer for a ruling.

When Mississippi went before the appeals committee last July to appeal a postseason ban for former coach Hugh Freeze’s booster violations. The Rebels didn’t get an answer until Nov. 1 and had its postseason ban upheld after self-imposing one a year earlier.

Odom was asked about MU’s chances of getting the penalty overturned and said there’s no point in continuing to talk about it, given it’s out of MU’s hands.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I wish I could make a great statement about the timing. If you sit around and think about that, it’s not anything that we’re about. We control what we have the opportunity to control. Is it on their minds? Probably. Is it on mine? Absolutely. But that is wasted thought at this point. If we get the opportunity to play more than 12 games we’ll take it.”

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Alex Schiffer has been covering the Missouri Tigers for The Star since October 2017. He came in second place for magazine-length feature writing by the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association in 2018 and graduated from Mizzou in 2017.