Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Mississippi State nearing decision on Sidney
By Andy Katz
Mississippi State is expected to decide in the coming days if it will accept that ineligible freshman forward Renardo Sidney committed an unethical conduct violation, and whether it will appeal or just accept the facts and seek his reinstatement.
According to a source with direct knowledge of the ongoing case, the school and the Sidney family is leaning toward attempting to get reinstatement but that could be a long shot for this season based on past history.
The problem is that an appeal of the interpretation of the facts will likely mean he won’t play this season. That process would drag on for weeks. The major issue for Sidney is that he was said to have been unethical by lying to investigators. Sidney’s attorney, Donald Jackson out of Montgomery, Ala., said that Sidney didn’t lie but didn’t remember the facts of issues from a ninth-grade trip to Los Angeles.
Jackson said the Sidney case is reminiscent of the Dez Bryant situation in football where he was found guilty of not telling the truth about a visit with Deion Sanders and was held out of competition for the remainder of the season at Oklahoma State last fall.
According to a source, the staff has found that Sidney provided false information, and even if it were by mistake it would be difficult to overturn in an appeal. The source said the usual punishment is a one-year ban from competition.
Sidney has been practicing but hasn’t been cleared to play.
If the Sidney family and Mississippi State accept the facts of the case and then file a reinstatement appeal they can’t go back and challenge the facts. If the appeal is denied then Sidney would lose the year of eligibility if that ends up being the punishment.
Jackson said Sidney isn’t balking about leaving school or Mississippi State. But it would be interesting to see if he would stay in college if he couldn’t play until next season.
Mississippi State lost at Vanderbilt Wednesday, 75-72, to drop to 4-3 in the SEC, 16-6 overall.
This was the email sent to Jackson letting the family know of the NCAA’s interpretation of the facts:
March 2006 trip to LABased on the information submitted, the student-athlete has jeopardized his amateur status by accepting transportation around Los Angeles from two individuals with whom there is no pre-existing relationship. This benefit is contrary to Bylaw 18.104.22.168.6.
Further, based on facts found by the Fact-Finding Committee, a violation of Bylaw 10.1-(d) was committed by the student-athlete for the statements outlined in Fact number 25 – (a), (b) and (f). These statements have proven to be false statements provided during the interviews noted in the document.
Due to the fact that there does not appear to be any evidence that the complimentary hotel room was provided based on the student-athlete’s athletics ability or reputation , there is not enough evidence to confirm a violation of NCAA rules at this time. Further, through interviews, the student-athlete’s father maintains that he provided the remainder of the expenses for the trip to Los Angeles. While there is no documentation to substantiate this, based on the Fact-Finding Committee’s deliberation on this issue, there are no other remaining issues with the expenses for the trip to Los Angeles.
Based on the information provided, the family used money contractually delivered to the nonprofit foundations established for the purpose of administering a basketball team for personal use (e.g., Sunglass Hut, Arco Arena Team store, LA Sparks, flights not connected to basketball tournaments/travel). Thus, the family obtained personal gain from money deposited into the foundations in violation of requirements established for operating such a nonprofit foundation. Based on the totality of circumstances surrounding this issue, it is reasonable to conclude that the money obtained for personal gain was a direct result of the student-athlete’s athletics reputation. As a result, the use of this money for personal use is contrary to Bylaw 22.214.171.124.6 and jeopardizes the student-athlete’s amateur status. In addition, it also appears that pursuant to the articles of incorporation of the foundations established in California, use of the foundation’s money for personal benefit is also impermissible.
Excess Reebok gear
Prospective student-athletes are permitted by Bylaw 126.96.36.199.4.3 to obtain apparel for their use in practice and competition from a team on which they compete. Further, they are permitted by Bylaw 188.8.131.52.10 to receive apparel directly from a manufacturer to be used in their sport under the conditions noted in the bylaw. Based on the information submitted, neither of these standards has been met in relation to the “excess” gear received by the student-athlete. The gear was provided through the nonprofit foundation to the student-athlete, as opposed to directly from the manufacturer, and was in excess of actual and necessary apparel for participation on the team. Thus, the excess gear was contrary to Bylaw 184.108.40.206.6 and jeopardizes the student-athlete’s amateur status.
San Francisco workouts
A violation of 220.127.116.11.6 has already been agreed on between the institution and ACP staff. The AMA staff concurs with this outcome.
Based on the information submitted, the student-athlete’s receipt of lodging expenses from Chris Rivers is contrary to Bylaw 18.104.22.168.6 and jeopardizes the student-athlete’s amateur status.
Loans from Financial Institutions
The AMA staff did not determine there to be a violation of NCAA rules related to the facts outlined in this section.
Finally, a note about process at this stage. If the institution wishes to appeal any of the staff interpretations, it may do so by submitting a request to the NCAA Division I Legislative Review and Interpretations Committee. The interpretative appeal must be based on the agreed-upon set of facts that that AMA used in their analysis and not on new facts.
If the institution wishes to proceed directly to the student-athlete reinstatement stage, it may do so at this time. However, the institution may not appeal any of the interpretive issues once it has received a decision from the student-athlete reinstatement staff.