Melissa Stokes resigned as head volleyball coach Monday morning after an investigation discovered there were NCAA violations within the program, according to a release by Missouri State.
The university hired Spencer Fare LLP to conduct an independent investigation that ultimately led to Stokes’ resignation. The investigation, which began on July 16, found violations that included allowing a non-qualifier to accompany the team during a foreign tour without personally paying all costs and allowing currently enrolled players to participate as campers at camps hosted by Stokes.
A third violation was announced at a press conference on Monday afternoon. The investigation discovered that Stokes was giving additional financial aid in form of free or reduced housing to the volleyball student-athletes.
MSU general counsel and chief compliance officer Rachael Dockery said the finding was that certain student-athletes in the summer of 2015 and summer of 2017 resided in rental properties owned by Stokes for prices below full market value.
“The university commissioned a review of our volleyball program, due to some concerns that were brought to our attention,” MSU Athletic Director Kyle Moats said in the release. “As a result of the investigation, we have concluded that we need to take the program in a new direction.”
Due to the findings, Missouri State is in the process of self-reporting the violations.
The release said Stokes cooperated fully with the investigation.
Stokes will receive an $80,000 severance payment in lieu of any other compensations she would have been entitled to within her employment contract. She was making an annual base salary $112,157 and was eligible for various incentives included in her contract. Her contract went through June 30, 2023.
“For the last 23 years, the Missouri State volleyball program has been my top priority,” Stokes said in the release. “I have always wanted what is best for our student-athletes and the university. To minimize further distraction to the program and the players, I submitted my resignation earlier today.”
Stokes coached the volleyball team for the last 23 seasons. She is the winningest coach in Missouri Valley Conference league matches with 299 wins. She leaves Missouri State with a 509-243 record.
Associate head coach Manolo Concepcion has been named interim head coach, effective immediately. When the investigation began, Concepcion took on the interim head coach role and the day-to-day duties of the program.
A national search for a coach will begin at the end of the 2019 season, according to the release.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is presented.