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Oklahoma State names former NCAA official for football review

Photo: SI

Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis promised to take action concerning alleged improprieties.

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma State has appointed a former NCAA official to investigate alleged misconduct in the football program.

School president Burns Hargis and the Board of Regents said Monday that Charles E. Smrt will lead an independent review of alleged violations first reported by Sports Illustrated.

"While the articles do not implicate any current coaches or players to have direct involvement in any alleged misconduct, we have a responsibility to confront these disturbing reports head on and with complete transparency," Hargis said.

Hargis said Smrt is a veteran NCAA enforcement officer. He is currently president of a consulting firm specializing in compliance audits. Before that he was on the NCAA enforcement staff for almost 18 years.

Tucker Link, chairman of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents, said the board endorsed Smrt's selection to determine, "based on credible sources and confirmed facts," whether there is any truth to the claims made in the articles.

"But let there be no doubt, the OSU Board of Regents does not and will not condone illegal, immoral and unethical conduct or conduct that violates applicable rules," Link said.

Smrt said Hargis has offered him unfettered access as he conducts his review.

"He has asked me to pursue the facts wherever they may lead. I assured him that I will do so, and that I will conduct the review with care and urgency," he said.

The alleged violations reported by the magazine occurred between 2001 and 2010. Among the potential NCAA violations mentioned in the report are cash payments to players from boosters and assistant coaches, and sham jobs for which players were paid.

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