NCAA announces Mississippi State infractions, penalties in pay-for-play case

Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen reacts during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Davis Wade Stadium. (Spruce Derden USA TODAY Sports)

Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen is going to have to deal with a loss of scholarships following a pay-for-play booster scandal. (Spruce Derden USA TODAY Sports)

The Mississippi State Bulldogs football program has been under NCAA investigation following allegations that a booster paid recruits to play in Starkeville.

On Thursday, it was announced that the investigation was nearing an end, and on Friday punishments were levied in the form of scholarship reductions and recruiting sanctions. The infractions have been deemed “major” in nature.

Here’s a brief history of the case: Former wide receivers coach Angelo Mirando had instructed booster Robert Denton Herring to make sure that defensive back Will Redmond play for MSU. During a 7-on-7 summer practice session, Redmond’s coach, Byron De’Vinner, witnessed Herring give Redmond “roughly $200” in a handshake.

From there, the NCAA launched its investigation. This was only weeks before the 2012 season was set to launch, and it resulted in Mirando’s resignation only 10 days before kickoff. At the time, it was stressed that Mirando was leaving for personal reasons.

Now we know that was never the case.

While Mirando is no longer with the program, head coach Dan Mullen will now be tasked with building it without the maximum number of scholarships allowable. In the SEC, a conference where absolutely the smallest advantage is necessary, losing warm bodies definitely hurts.

Mullen himself was never implicated in any wrongdoing whatsoever. One of the reasons why the school is seemingly getting off light is because they have self-imposed the two-year probation instead of waiting for the NCAA to levy a more stringent penalty.

Following are details from the NCAA’s report on the exact wrongdoings found:

The booster befriended a top Mississippi State recruit and began arranging for him to use cars, gave him cash and provided other benefits. 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.

To read the full NCAA Infractions Report, click here.

MORE NCAA: Jay Bilas wants NCAA president Mark Emmert to step down