Mizzou Coach Angry With Rival SEC Coaches Poaching Seniors

Per a report from CBSSports’s Dennis Dodd, Missouri football coach Barry Odom is not happy with his SEC rivals and their coaching staffs constantly bombarding his seniors about transfer options after an NCAA-imposed bowl ban for the Tigers and will have some choice words for his fellow coaches on Wednesday.

Odom announced Tuesday that 19 seniors, who will not be able to compete in a bowl game at season’s end, were, as he put it, “contacted and bombarded non-stop” by teams taking advantage of NCAA bylaws that legally allow coaches from other schools to speak to rising seniors from programs hit with postseason probations to transfer without issue.

Odom purposely aired out Tennessee for being the most frequent of callers among SEC competitors during a booster event on Tuesday.

“Everybody is going to have a bad day,” Odom said, expressing his frustration with keeping his players from transferring. “You combine that with somebody that — who’d we beat 51-17 this year? Tennessee? Yeah, those guys. They are non-stop reaching out daily [saying], ‘Hey, come here.’ The grass is not always greener somewhere else.”

Tennessee, on the other hand, did not even bother to give a comment to the CBSSports Journalist on the situation.

On January 31, a bevy of sources broke the news on the Mizzou’s postseason ban¬†citing an academic misconduct case involving a former tutor. Missouri has since challenged that ruling by appealing the penalties, citing “abuse of discretion” by the NCAA infractions panel that worked the case.

“I think [the decision] calls into question the effect on the future of intercollegiate athletics,” Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk told CBSports’s Dodd.

Meanwhile, while the appeal is being heard, all penalties (including the bowl ban) are postponed until further notice, and the opportunity for Odom’s seniors to transfer to other schools during this process will not be delayed. That will be further evaluated when fall drills begin in August for the Tigers.

This has been written in stone since 1992 when the NCAA wrote legislation that allowed athletes with waning eligibility to transfer so they wouldn’t have to sit out. David Roberts, the special advisor to the USC president,¬†instituted some of that legislation in the recommendation of the players’ freedom.

So far, no senior has made the jump to go and play for an SEC rival, but surely Odom and his program are livid and frustrated with how things are turning out.

“I’m also now recruiting our senior class again,” Odom said.

Coach Odom, as reported, has made a litany of calls to his fellow SEC peers who are actively pursuing his 19 seniors.

This comes in advance of Wednesday’s annual SEC coaches’ meeting at the league headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. “I haven’t gotten return phone calls,” Odom said. “I know there is a handful of guys who are talking daily to my players,” he added. “That’s going to be a fun luncheon tomorrow.”

Missouri is going through what Penn State went through in 2012, and what Ole Miss experienced in 2018. Rising seniors were allowed to leave Ole Miss after an additional year of a postseason ban after the school previously hit itself with a one-year ban. The Jerry Sandusky situation at Penn State caused the school to undergo a four-year postseason ban where Juniors and Seniors were allowed to transfer right away.

After the Sandusky story made the headlines, talent scavengers ran amuck throughout State College, Pennsylvania. Rival recruiters were literally hanging out in the football facility parking lot, and former Nittany Lion Matt Mauti said he received around 40 recruitment offers — as a senior.

This situation at Missouri pales in comparison to what happened both at Ole Miss and Penn State, but when you take into account the widening transfer portal that’s gotten even bigger in the past 5 years, Odom’s lividity is understandable.

“They’re all getting bombarded,” Odom said of his seniors. “It’s frustrating … that our governing body has allowed that. You can’t cut a player. You can’t remove a player for not being a good player or injury, but yet, they let people go recruit our guys. Ole Miss, Penn State, Missouri. Really? We’re in the same boat.”

Odom was informed of the penalties just a couple of weeks ago as a Mizzou official pulled him over as he was driving and advised him of the happenings.

“The only thing I heard about or thought for three years as a head coach was [we] may have to vacate wins,” Odom said. “[A bowl ban] was not even on my radar.”

This news was shocking, considering that Odom was coming off his best year as a head coach, leading the Tigers to the Liberty Bowl against Oklahoma State and an 8-5 record in 2018.

“We’re messed up on a lot of different levels when it comes to transfers,” Odom said. “Some of that has to do with coaches leaving. Also, the integrity of how you recruit that has something to do with it, too.”

Details of Missouri’s appeal have surfaced in another age when the NCAA is being largely opposed for their often-perceived totalitarianist overreach on certain penalties that largely affect the futures of programs and Missouri is basically arguing that the punishment does not fit the crime. All parties agree that Missouri took immediate action, alerting the NCAA after the academic fraud became apparent.

“You would need the FBI and to check it any closer [than we did],” Sterk told Dodd. Sterk later said the penalties were “shocking, I guess, was the best way to put it. There was no precedent for what occurred.”

As an addition to that stance, Missouri contended that “there was no heat in the room” at the infractions hearing. They initially proposed a simpler summary disposition at the case, in which the enforcement staff largely agreed with the school in a supporting summary disposition, but disagreed on them needing a full investigation to be conducted.