June 7, 2013 1:44:58 PM
STARKVILLE - The Mississippi State University football program received a loss of scholarships, a number of other recruiting violations from the NCAA Committee of Infractions Friday morning.
The penalties toward come as a result of recruiting wrongdoings this past season involving cornerback Will Redmond.
MSU will be on probation for two years, get a reduction of two scholarships from 85 to 83 this fall, a reduction of the number of official visits from 41 to 39 for two years and a reduction of the number of recruiting days during the spring evaluation period from 168 to 164. All of these penalties were self imposed by the university and accepted by the NCAA COI. MSU spokesperson Joe Galbraith said Friday all of the recruiting sanctions but the reduction in scholarships this fall have already been met by the university athletics department.
Additionally, former MSU wide receivers coach Angelo Mirando was given a one-year show cause ban from coaching at a NCAA institution for "unethical conduct for failing to report the booster's activities when he became aware of them and providing false information during his first two interviews with the NCAA."
Finally, Redmond is required to pay $2,660 in impermissible benefits, forfeit his eligibility for the 2012 season and is suspended first five games of the 2013 season. Redmond is eligible to return to the active roster on Oct. 12 against Bowling Green.
According to the NCAA release, a booster, who was later identified as Robert Denton Herring, "befriended a top Mississippi State recruit (Redmond) and began arranging for him to use cars, gave him cash and provided other benefits."
The NCAA investigation found that "during the recruitment, the booster exchanged more than 100 phone calls with the recruit, assisted the recruit in securing a car to drive to a campus visit and provided cash to the recruit on multiple occasions. Additionally, the booster and his friend provided a car to the recruit for approximately $2,000 below the actual value of the car. Prior to taking an official visit to a different university, the booster told the recruit that if he did not take the visit, the recruit would be paid $6,000."
"This case should stand as a cautionary tale to staff and fans at all NCAA institutions," MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin said in a university statement. "A booster inserted himself into the recruiting process without prompting, and a staff member failed to engage the university's compliance staff once the booster's actions became obvious."
The NCAA has announced the sanctions in a release before a 10 a.m. media teleconference to discuss the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions' decision regarding MSU. The media conference and investigation was conducted by Britton Banowsky, the chair of the NCAA committee and current commissioner of Conference USA.
"Mississippi State did a great job of....taking necessary action once they found the scope and severity of the problem and then owning up to it when they got to the hearing," Banowsky said in the teleconference. "So I think they did a great job and I'm sure that was reflected in the nature of the penalties and the fact the committee virtually accepted all of the self-imposed penalties."
This hearing in front of the COI marks the third time in 20 years the MSU football program has been forced to address and be punished for major violations with the others being 1994 and 2003.
"Therefore, we worked in close and full cooperation with the NCAA in every phase of this process," MSU President Mark Keenum said in a university drafted statement. "I am pleased that the Committee on Infractions recognized our good faith efforts to meet this issue head-on by taking swift action to administer self-imposed penalties and additional corrective actions to address the situation."
On Aug. 23, The Dispatch reported the NCAA was conducting an investigation into a "potential recruiting irregularity" involving the MSU football program. Sources close to the situation have confirmed to The Dispatch the investigation, at least in part, involves an automobile purchased for MSU freshman defensive back Will Redmond. The Ford Mustang was purchased before Redmond signed with MSU in Feb. 2012 from a used car dealership in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn.
On that same day in August, MSU officials released a two-sentence statement saying the school "over the last several months has worked in cooperation with the NCAA to examine a potential recruiting irregularity". The statement goes on to read that the investigation is "nearing the end".
Less than a month later, the 7-on-7 summer team coach of Redmond, Byron De'Vinner, went into detail about the improper benefits he encountered during the college recruitment of the four-star prospect in a interview with Yahoo! Sports.
De'Vinner, who has been interviewed by NCAA investigators regarding the investigations into multiple players in Memphis on his 7-on-7 team, went into details about arrangements for lodging and complementary meals in a Yahoo! Sports report.
De'Vinner also named the booster, whose name was redacted from the documents obtained by The Dispatch, as Robert Denton Herring. Herring, who is based in Roswell, Ga., was a former MSU football season-ticket holder and has had the school disassociate itself from him because of what their outside counsel described in letters to Herring as "impermissible contact with the prospective student-athlete".
Mullen attempted to downplay the reports in August when told of the specific reporter who broke the news while MSU was on the practice field.
On the Head to Head radio show, De'Vinner said that former MSU receivers coach Angelo Mirando "was aware" of the improper benefits. De'Vinner said he was introduced to Mirando in June 2011 and later Mirando "sent him a message on Facebook, gave me his number to call him".
Mirando resigned his position on the MSU staff last August, less than two weeks before the 2012 season opener against Jackson State University, in the wake of an ongoing NCAA investigation related to his recruitment of Redmond.
"Angelo's mistake was one of omission," Mirando's attorney Jay Perry said in a statement drafted through his legal office at Perry, Winfield & Wolfe, P.A. "Subsequent to the former MSU booster's improper contact and improper benefits, Angelo learned about them and failed to report them to the appropriate compliance staff member. As a result, Angelo went from being the youngest on-field assistant coach in the Southeastern Conference to being unemployed in the span of about 18 months."
MSU announced Mirando's replacement as wide receivers coach, less than four days after 26-year-old resigned Sunday evening due to what school officials called personal reasons, in the form of former University of Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster. Brewster eventually left MSU this past offseason for Florida State University.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
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