NCAA Penalties Against Oklahoma State Are Unprecedented

The penalties levied against Oklahoma State by the NCAA last week are unprecedented and could spell disastrous for other schools involved in the investigation should OSU's appeal fail.
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STILLWATER – The news of a postseason ban and reduction of scholarships for Oklahoma State last Friday was like a bomb going off, or rather the aftershock from the bomb dropped by the FBI regarding former assistant coach Lamont Evans that keeps causing damage.

“I find it almost impossible to reconcile the severe penalties imposed by the NCAA for the violations detailed in today’s report,” Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder said on Friday. “The NCAA agreed that Lamont Evans acted alone and for his own benefit. The NCAA also agreed that OSU did not benefit in recruiting, commit a recruiting violation, did not play an ineligible player and did not display a lack of institutional control.

“They said OSU cooperated throughout the entire process. In short, OSU did the right thing. On the other hand, Lamont Evans’ conduct damaged an OSU player, damaged the men’s basketball team and damaged the university. He acted selfishly and without regard for those student-athletes who trusted him, or the university that employed him, all for personal gain. Given this context, how does the NCAA justify a postseason ban and the loss of three scholarships for violations that damaged the university and basketball program? Penalties that are normally reserved for those seeking a substantial or extensive recruiting or competitive advantage. I’m shocked by the ruling today and determined to vigorously fight against this injustice.”

Related: Lamont Evans Just Won’t Go Away

Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder and men’s basketball coach, Mike Boynton, along with former NCAA enforcement staffer Chuck Smrt, spoke with the media regarding the ruling and how the university and program would be moving forward.

Shortly after the news came out, Oklahoma State announced they would be appealing the NCAA’s ruling.

From the day the penalties were announced, June 5, the university has until June 20 to file a formal appeal. Once filed, according to the NCAA, the process could take up to 110 days to come to a decision, but it could “take longer depending on the complexities of the case.”

This is a very interesting case Oklahoma State has though because what’s so unbelievable for many about the penalties passed down by the NCAA is that they’re unprecedented. As Holder said above, the program received no benefit, on or off the court, from the actions of Evans.

“If you look at the cases nationally, I believe they can be fit into one of two categories: what I would call the assistant coaches’ cases, which this is, where there was an alleged intent to obtain personal gain,” said Chuck Smrt. “Some of the other cases at least alleged to have been involved in gaining institutional advantage. It appears that this is the standard being established for those cases that have intent for personal gain.”

Related: Ferron Flavors to Stick With Commitment Despite Postseason Ban

All of those penalties came with Oklahoma State cooperating fully with the NCAA from the very beginning of the investigation

“If this is what happens when there is no competitive advantage gained, then the NCAA has created an expectation of significantly harsher penalty when a competitive is involved,” said coach Holder. “All of us that are members of the NCAA, will be watching to see if these standards and expectations are applied consistently.”

While no one associated with, or cheers for Oklahoma State, wants these penalties to be upheld at the end of the appeals process, Mike Holder and Chuck Smrt certainly make an interesting point.

The quotes above from both Holder and Smrt, should these penalties be upheld, should have every other school involved in the FBI investigation, such as Kansas who has five Level I violations, or Louisville, who’s a repeat offender, absolutely quaking in their boots.