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The NCAA's investigation centered, in part, around former MSU women's volleyball coach Melissa Stokes.
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The NCAA's investigation centered, in part, around former MSU women's volleyball coach Melissa Stokes.

NCAA penalizes MSU for volleyball program infractions

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The NCAA issued penalties against Missouri State University after an investigation that centered, in part, on former women's volleyball coach Melissa Stokes.

The MSU women's volleyball team has been fined $5,000, plus 1% of its annual program budget, and the program will face three years of probation, a one-year postseason ban and a 5% scholarship reduction, according to a news release.

"We accept the findings of the NCAA Committee on Infractions and will not appeal the penalties contained therein," said MSU Director of Athletics Kyle Moats, noting the university cooperated fully with the investigation. "We have made internal modifications to our oversight processes that were singled out in the report and additional steps beyond the NCAA requirements.

"We will continue to make compliance a top priority as a department and as an institution."

MSU in 2019 self-reported NCAA violations discovered in an independent, internal investigation conducted by Spencer Fane LLP. Stokes, the team's 23-year leader, initially was placed on paid administrative leave before resigning a month later, according to past reporting.

The NCAA's investigation report released yesterday indicates the former coach over a three-year period provided or permitted her staff to provide around $16,200 in impermissible recruiting inducements and benefits. Most of the benefits were for free or reduced-cost housing, including at rental properties owned by Stokes.

After her exit from the school, Stokes provided false or misleading information on the housing benefits and other rule violations to NCAA enforcement staff, according to the report.

The report also states MSU failed to adequately put checks in place on the women's volleyball team to prevent rule violations.

The MSU women's volleyball team now is led by head coach Steven McRoberts.

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