The NCAA issued a statement Thursday regarding Oklahoma State's "unacceptable" remarks following the organization's ruling to ban the Cowboys men's basketball team from the 2022 postseason just over a week ago.
Per the NCAA, comments from Oklahoma State personnel about their infractions caused NCAA volunteer committee members and staff to receive threatening and messages.
Immediately following the NCAA's decision to deny the Cowboys appeal on Nov. 3, head coach Mike Boynton and athletic director Chad Weiberg voiced their deep-rooted frustrations, with Boynton dropping names from the committee.
“The committee on infractions: Alberto Gonzales, Joel Maturi, Gary Miller, Vince Nicastro, Larry Parkinson, Thomas Sullivan and I don’t know the young man’s name who’s the general counsel at Princeton (Sankar Suryanarayan). I can’t say it and I won’t try to butcher it," Boynton told The Oklahoman.
“They slept well last night. They felt good about the work they did, while I explained to 17 kids that their dreams of playing in the NCAA Tournament this year couldn’t be realized."
Oklahoma State was implicated in a scandal stemming from the actions of former assistant coach Lamont Evans, who was found to have accepted bribes to influence student-athletes during the 2016–17 season. Evans, who received a 10-year show cause penalty from the NCAA, worked under former Cowboys coach Brad Underwood during the '16–17 campaign.
However, Evans was dismissed after the investigation came to light in September '17 before current Cowboys coach Mike Boynton coached a game. Oklahoma State was allowed to play in last year's NCAA Tournament due to the NCAA's lengthy appeal process.
Weiberg stated the NCAA is the organization—after taking nearly five years to make a decision—should be punished.
"It's the bad actors, those that knowingly circumvent and violate the rules that should be punished. It's unnecessary to punish these student-athletes this way, and is further proof that the NCAA system is disconnected and broken," he told The Oklahoman.
As a result, the NCAA also said in the statement that changes need to be made to the organization's constitution and the Division I transformation process.
"We know that an adverse decision can be emotional, but personal attacks against individuals simply carrying out their responsibilities are inappropriate, unethical and potentially dangerous," the statement said.
The Cowboys' punishment earned backlash around the college basketball landscape because of its perceived unfairness relative to other programs involved in the bribery scandal, per Sports Illustrated's Kevin Sweeney.
Oklahoma State (2–0) won its first two games of the 2021 season and will face Oakland on Friday.
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