The first domino has now fallen.
On Friday, the NCAA came down hard on the Oklahoma State men's basketball program, with the Cowboys being hit with a postseason ban for the 2020-21 season, among other penalties.
This stems from former associate head coach Lamont Evans accepting "between $18,150 and $22,000 in bribes from two financial advisors to influence student-athletes", which the NCAA designated as a Level I violation.
OSU's case is one of many stemming from the FBI & Southern District of New York's widespread college basketball corruption investigation that was announced back on Sept. 26, 2017. The Cowboys just happen to be the first to officially receive their punishment from it.
Louisville finds themselves in very similar situation. Last month, they received one Level I and three Level II allegations stemming from the recruitment of Brian Bowen and the Adidas pay-for-play scheme during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
The main difference between the institutions however, is that Louisville is a repeat offender in the eyes of the NCAA. The Cardinals are still under probation from the Katina Powell & Andre McGee sex scandal.
Oklahoma State was not even close to being the most egregious offender in the corruption scandal (Looking at you, Kansas & LSU). They also committed offensives that were a fraction of what Louisville is alleged to have committed, and do not have the Cardinals' recent history with the NCAA.
Even still, the NCAA handed OSU out the following punishments:
- Three years of probation.
- A 2020-21 postseason ban for the men’s basketball team.
- A $10,000 fine plus 1% of the men’s basketball program budget (self-imposed by the university).
- A reduction of men’s basketball scholarships by a total of three during the 2020-21 through 2022-23 academic years.
- A reduction of men’s basketball official visits to 25 during the 2018-19/2019-20 rolling two-year period and to 18 during the 2019-20/2020-21 rolling two-year period (self-imposed by the university).
- A prohibition of men’s basketball unofficial visits for two weeks during the fall of 2020 and two weeks during the fall of 2021 (self-imposed by the university). The university also must prohibit unofficial visits for three additional weeks during the fall of 2020, 2021 and/or 2022.
- A prohibition of men’s basketball telephone recruiting for a one-week period during the 2020-21 academic year (self-imposed by the university). The university also must prohibit telephone recruiting for six additional weeks during the probation period.
- A reduction in the number of men’s basketball recruiting person days by 12 during the 2019-20 academic year (self-imposed by the university). The university also must reduce the number of recruiting person days by five during the 2020-21 academic year.
- A 10-year show-cause order for the former associate head coach. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.
- A prohibition of the men’s basketball staff from participating in off-campus evaluations for three consecutive days during the summer evaluation periods in 2020 (self-imposed by the university).
Furthermore, these penalties were levied even after OSU cooperated with the NCAA and received the benefit. Had they not, the penalties could have been even more severe than they already are, according to the Committee on Infractions' Larry Parkinson.
If that's what's being handed down in Stillwater, then anyone associated with Louisville (whether they are coaches, players, administrative staff or simply fans), should expect penalties far more strict if the NCAA sticks to their guns.
It's not all doom and gloom though. As Pat Forde wrote last month, the university made active efforts to clean house when the Bowen scandal first broke by firing both then-AD Tom Jurich and then-head coach Rick Pitino, and could use that as a defense.
UofL President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi and current AD Vince Tyra have also stated that they "will not hesitate to push back" against facets of the Notice of Allegations they did not believe were factual. It's a complete 180 from the stance that the previous regime took the first time around.
Still, if this is the precedent being set by the NCAA as it pertains to the schools tied to the FBI corruption scandal, then everyone in Jefferson County should hope for the best but expect the worst.
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