Andy Hodges

Oklahoma State’s gamble backfires with stiff penalties from NCAA

Cooperating with NCAA in an investigation usually doesn’t turn out well for teams as the Cowboys discovered Friday when the NCAA hit them with stiff penalties.

When it comes to dealing with an NCAA investigation the unwritten rule has usually been never cooperate, but Oklahoma State ignored it and found out why it’s usually a bad idea Friday.

The Cowboys chose months ago to help the investigation into college basketball recruiting, take what it hoped was a non-fatal bullet and hope Kansas had to deal with a bigger problem.

Friday the NCAA placed Oklahoma State on three years of probation and banned them from playing in postseason tournaments next season.

There’s no mention if they tried to make the argument it should be retroactive to 2020’s tournament that was cancelled due to the Covid-19 shutdown. Considering they actually helped the NCAA it’s doubtful they really considered it.

I can think of a couple of schools that would have at least tried it.

OSU addmitted to a Level I violation as former associate head coach Lamont Evans, sentenced in June 2019 to three months in prison for accepting between $18,150 and $22,000 in bribes to steer players from South Carolina and Oklahoma State to certain agents and financial advisers.

Kansas, North Carolina State, Louisville, USC, South Carolina and TCU all have been charged via Notices of Allegations. Creighton and Auburn have been, according to multiple reports, but will not acknowledge it. Alabama, LSU and Arizona are waiting on their official letter.

The ones that have acknowledged the allegations are fighting it and it’s a good bet the ones waiting on official notification are going to put up a fight.

Instead, Oklahoma State just threw themselves on the mercy of the NCAA which is always a bad idea.

Now the Cowboys are jumping up and down, shocked they got hit with pretty close to the lower levels for the infractions, according to the mysterious “Penalty Matrix” that is a couple of doors down from the transfer portal.

“The University is stunned by the severity of the penalties and strongly disagrees with them,” the school said in a statement. “The penalties do not align with the facts and are unfair and unjust. The NCAA agreed with OSU that Lamont Evans acted alone and for his own personal gain. Evans was terminated by OSU on Sept. 28, 2017, within 72 hours of learning of allegations against him.

“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. As the report documents, OSU cooperated throughout the process, which lasted two years.”

The Cowboys had signed the No. 2 player in the country in Cade Cunningham, who played at Montverde with Arkansas signee Moses Moody (the third-rated player in the country).

Now they could lose him although Cunningham’s brother is an assistant coach with the Cowboys.

“We’re going to have conversations over the next few days, weeks,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said on a conference call. “We’re gonna try to look at all the options, whatever they are: G-League, overseas, transfer to another school, stay at Oklahoma State. … Whatever he decides is best for his future, I’m gonna support 100%.”

Don’t even ask Aaron Torres unless you want a pretty emotional answer. Torres has the Aaron Torres Podcast and is one of the Fox Sports’ lead guys on men’s college basketball.

“Based on the Oklahoma State ruling today, and the impending name, image, likeness rules Louisville could be punished for paying a recruit $100,000, while, by 2021, actually paying recruits.,” he said Friday afternoon with Phil Elson, Matt Jenkins and Matt Jenkins (Halftime) on ESPN Arkansas.

The NCAA, with some high-profile teams on the radar, could potentially damage it’s biggest revenue-producing product — the NCAA Tournament. That produces over 70% of the organization’s revenue.

At a time when the best players have the option of going to the G-League for a year instead of college, the NCAA has a problem that shoots off in a lot of directions.

Most of them end up aimed right back at the NCAA’s head.

And Oklahoma State is the first to feel the pinch, mainly because the NCAA can say now they are going to punish people that do wrong.

Of course they won’t mention the Cowboys didn’t put up much of a fight.

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