Yolanda Kumar, the whistleblower who triggered an NCAA investigation into academic fraud in the University of Missouri athletic department, told The Star in an exclusive interview on Tuesday night how and why she allegedly helped MU athletes cheat.
Kumar worked as a tutor for Mizzou’s Total Person Program off and on during the last six years. She said she was “groomed” to help keep athletes academically eligible, particularly football and men’s basketball players, and completed their classes, took tests and answered assessment questions.
She said she participated in at least a dozen serious cases of academic fraud involving both men’s and women’s athletes during a 16-month period.
“I think about what I’ve done and I cry, not because I’m sad or I’m weak,” Kumar said, “but because I’m so angry that I didn’t use my voice to say no.”
Kumar said she reported her “academic dishonesty” during an 18-minute phone call Nov. 2 with Mary Ann Austin, Mizzou’s executive associate athletic director for compliance.