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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:
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.