MSSU athletics hit with probation, sanctions after self-reported NCAA violations

On December 9, 2022, the MSSU athletics department was hit with sanctions by the NCAA. 

According to the NCAA, “Missouri Southern State failed to monitor its football program which committed multiple NCAA violations over two years.” 

However, all of these infractions were committed by people no longer with the university.

According to the NCAA, “The former football head coach violated head coach responsibility rules and ethical conduct rules when he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance with NCAA rules and was directly involved in violations.”

The school and a former academic advisor were involved with the NCAA in helping to resolve the issues. However, the former head coach and assistant coach didn’t help the NCAA in its investigation.

According to the NCAA, “The committee also determined that an additional violation involving recruiting inducements occurred when, after being hired by Missouri Southern State, the former football head coach began recruiting a community college student-athlete who had played for the coach at his previous school. That prospect had an outstanding tuition bill at his prior school, and as a result the college would not release his transcripts so he could transfer. The head coach arranged for a booster to pay that tuition bill, which amounted to more than $8,000. “

MSSU released a statement on how it was involved in the process and helped the NCAA committee throughout the process.


MSSU athletics compliance staff was notified of potential violations in July 2020. An internal investigation was immediately launched and based on the findings of that investigation, MSSU self-reported those potential violations to the NCAA in October 2020. NCAA enforcement and MSSU then began a joint investigation, resulting in multiple agreed-upon findings and the negotiated resolution to the infractions case.

The agreed upon infractions were as follows:

From January 2019 through October 2020 the former head football coach and former academic advisor violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct, knowingly arranged for impermissible inducements and/or provided impermissible inducements and benefits.

During June and July of 2019 and 2020, the football program required and/or directed football student-athletes’ participation in team countable athletically-related activities out of the playing season and during the institutional vacation period.

From June through July of 2020 a former assistant football coach engaged in academic misconduct.

From October 2021 to November 2022, after his separation from the institution, the former assistant football coach violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct and failed to cooperate with enforcement staff when he refused to participate in the investigation.

From the spring of 2019 through October 2020, the former head football coach did not demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere of compliance and that he appropriately monitored his staff.

From approximately spring through October 2020, the institution failed to adequately monitor the football program to ensure compliance with applicable NCAA legislation.

Due to these agreed upon infractions, the NCAA has placed the Missouri Southern State University athletic department on probation for a period of three years, through November 2, 2025. It is important to note that these infractions occurred in 2019 and 2020, prior to arrival of current Head Football Coach Atiba Bradley and that no current MSSU coaches or staff members were found to have been involved.

“Today, as we move forward, Missouri Southern is committed to a highly competitive NCAA Division II athletics program that supports a great student-athlete experience and prioritizes achieving these goals within a culture of compliance,” said Dr. Dean Van Galen

“While these circumstances are unfortunate, particularly because the violations occurred prior to Coach Bradley’s arrival, we are pleased to have this matter resolved so that we can continue to focus on the positive progress of our football program,” said Mallory. “I have 100% confidence that under Coach Bradley’s leadership that Lions’ football is operating with the highest levels of integrity and transparency.”