State investigating Cohen allegations

Mississippi State is looking into allegations by former baseball player Forrest Moore that coach John Cohen broke NCAA rules.
Last week, Moore filed a civil lawsuit against Cohen and MSU, claiming that his arm – and, by extension, his professional prospects – were severely damaged because of Cohen’s negligence. Part of that claim asserted that Cohen required players to practice more than is allowed by NCAA rules.
Moore also claimed that MSU pulled his scholarship without providing him written notification, and without allowing him a proper hearing, as required by NCAA rules.
“We’re just going to look into it as we would any time a concern is raised,” athletics director Scott Stricklin told the Daily Journal on Tuesday. “We diligently monitor NCAA rules, especially ones concerning practice limits.”
Stricklin said MSU’s compliance department will lead the internal probe, and that they will seek answers for “as long as it takes.”
Moore’s lawsuit says that beginning in the fall of 2008 – Cohen’s first with the team – and continuing into the following spring, Cohen initiated practices that exceeded the limits set forth by the NCAA, which allows baseball players to participate in “athletically related activities” for no more than four hours per day and 20 hours per week (bylaw 17.2.1.2).
When Moore lost his 80 percent scholarship in 2009, he claims that he did not receive written notice from the school – which would be a violation of bylaw 15.3.2.3 – and was also not given the chance for a hearing before the school’s regular financial aid authority (bylaw 15.3.2.4).
Stricklin declined to say whether MSU could produce specific documentation refuting Moore’s claim but did say, “We keep detailed records, though.”
Stricklin noted that there was a similar question about practice times a few years ago when Ron Polk was coach, “and nothing came of it.”
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571
or brad.locke@journalinc.com.inc.com.

Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal