WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball and Volleyball programs are no longer on probation by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
In a letter dated June 8, 2017, NJCAA President Bryce Roderick informed university officials that the NJCAA Executive Committee voted to lift the programs’ probationary status, which had been imposed for the 2016-17 academic year following the university’s self-reporting of several rules violations in March 2016. The status change is effective at the end of the 2016-17 academic year, according to the letter.
Dr. Angela Totty, dean of student services and athletic director, said the change of status makes the basketball and volleyball programs once again eligible for post-season play, as well as team and individual honors and awards. In addition, the teams are no longer required to send in eligibility audits for their players.
“We have worked hard this past year to ensure transparency and full adherence to NJCAA rules and requirements for both teams,” Totty said. “The decision by the NJCAA Executive Committee recognizes those efforts and our commitment to fair play in all aspects of the game.”
“I’m proud of the work our athletic department is doing to remain compliant with NJCAA regulations,” Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett added. “We appreciate the support of our community and our booster club during this difficult period and look forward to seeing our teams compete in post-season action in the future.”
The NJCAA’s decision came following a written request for reinstatement from the university on March 3, 2017. In the letter, university officials outlined the steps that have been taken to ensure compliance, as well as identified instances where a few issues were revealed.
Totty said one of those issues involved a transportation violation by the basketball program in which a player received transportation outside of what was allowed. That violation was reported to NJCAA officials in January and resulted in a loss of two scholarships for the 2017-18 season, she said.
The Grizzly Basketball and Volleyball programs were placed on probation in March 2016 after Missouri State-West Plains self-reported rules violations to NJCAA officials in November 2015. Those violations were discovered during an internal audit of the athletic department from 2010-2015.