STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee on Tuesday upheld the NCAA's initial ruling that Mississippi State signee Renardo Sidney loses a year of eligibility and must also sit out 30 percent of next season's games, thus bringing to conclusion a nearly year-long saga that began on April 30, 2009, with his signing out of Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.
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 form 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."
As a senior in high school, the 6-10, 260-pound forward/center averaged 23.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots this past season in leading the Lions to a 27-5 ledger. Both a Parade and McDonald's All-American, Sidney came to MSU listed as the fifth-best player in the country by Scout.com and the seventh best by ESPN.