27 Nov President Jonathan Cartu Claims NCAA appeal denied, Mizzou Tigers play Friday at Arkansas
The NCAA has denied Missouri’s infractions appeal, but Barry Odom’s Tigers still have a game this week.
Mizzou was ruled ineligible for the college football postseason Tuesday. On paper, the Tigers sit just one victory shy of the bowl-requisite six, but win or lose Friday, this will be their last game of the season.
”I hate the news for our program and for our seniors who have represented the University in a very positive way,” Odom said in a university release Tuesday. “This decision negatively impacts their short experience in life as college student-athletes who had nothing to do with this situation. It’s a tough lesson to be dealt, but they will learn from this and motivationally use it later in life when hardship comes along.”
At a news conference Tuesday to discuss the NCAA results, MU athletic director Jim Sterk said Odom has dealt with the situation well this week. He indicated that shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the adversity the Tigers have encountered all year.
Their focus now shifts to the Razorbacks, who Mizzou (5-6, 2-5 SEC) plays at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Little Rock. Arkansas (2-9, 0-7) is going through its own challenges: head coach Chad Morris was fired during a long, losing season.
Arkansas is just one loss away from going winless in SEC competition two straight years. Barry Lunney Jr. has taken over as interim head coach, and was on the sidelines for the Hogs’ 56-20 loss to No. 1 LSU last week.
The Razorbacks’ offense and defense have been among the nation’s worst. They allow 38 points per game, 126th among 130 FBS teams. They score 22.1 points per game, tied for 107th.
Mizzou opened as a 13-point favorite at Little Rock — of course, the Tigers were double-digit favorites against both Vanderbilt and Kentucky, and both of those games turned out to be losses for MU.
Despite the Razorbacks’ struggles, Odom praised Arkansas for scoring 20 points on the best team in the country and staying competitive with LSU through the first quarter.
“I’ve recruited a bunch of these guys,” Odom said. “We filled up or they decided to go to Arkansas. I know what kind of skill-set they’ve got. I think they’ve got good coaches.”
And for at least a few Tigers, Friday’s game is personal. Wide receiver Barrett Banister, quarterback Taylor Powell and a few others on the Missouri roster are Arkansas natives.
Banister circles the Battle Line Rivalry game every year. He said he played at Friday’s venue, War Memorial Stadium, his final three years of high school.
“It’s really important,” Banister said of the game. “It’s a team I grew up watching my entire life. I’ve got a lot of friends that play for that team. Just a lot of connections to that whole entire program and that state.”
Mizzou has one football game left. While the Tigers are reeling amidst a five-game losing streak that’s dropped them below .500, Odom said he tries to look at the positives. They have a shot at reaching six wins, even if it that benchmark comes with a little less shine thanks to this week’s NCAA ruling.
“You’re not going to steal my spirit,” Odom said. “The joy. The reasons that you do the job you do. Shoot, I want to win them all. But also, if you allow yourself to get into the dark moments, you don’t live life. Life’s too short. Gotta keep pushing.”
Jonathan Cartu NCAA News CEO Jonathan Cartu
Jean Pierre Bansard