After nearly a year, the book can finally be closed on the Renardo Sidney/NCAA drama. Mississippi State's appeal of the NCAA's ruling on Sidney was denied earlier today by the Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee, meaning the 6-foot-10 freshman must still sit out the first nine games of next season as punishment for violations found by the NCAA.
From the MSU press release:
On March 5 of this year, the academic and membership affairs staff outlined its findings and disclosed its penalties following an 11-month investigation that charged Sidney, a native of Jackson, Miss., with unethical conduct and receiving improper benefits. Immediately following the announced ruling, Mississippi State filed its appeal in terms of the withholding.
MSU did not challenge the resolution that has Sidney, who will be a sophomore next year, repaying the dollar value of the improper benefits received over the life of his eligibility.
"After the initial ruling from the NCAA, we felt that we were on solid ground for an appeal," MSU athletics director Greg Byrne said. "We're obviously disappointed with the outcome. From the beginning we believed and continue to believe Renardo deserves to be a student-athlete at Mississippi State."
UPDATE: Here is the reaction from Sidney's attorney, Donald Jackson.
"It was quite apparent at the outset of this investigation that the Eligibility Center's primary focus was to impose a suspension upon this youngster (either de facto or based upon violations of NCAA legislation). When it became clear that there was no factual basis to establish violations of amateurism legislation, the focus shifted to finding a basis to justify this investigation (at any cost). Today's findings were confirmation of that goal. The appeals committee affirmed the staff's findings that Renardo failed to recall the details of a trip that was taken during his ninth grade year.
"He will be returning to MSU next season."