Oklahoma Sooners Lose Scholarships, Must Erase '05 Wins

Oklahoma must erase its wins from the 2005 season and will lose two scholarships for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, the NCAA said Wednesday.

The penalties stem from a case involving two players, including the Sooners' starting quarterback, who were kicked off the team last August for being paid for work they had not performed at a Norman car dealership. The NCAA said Oklahoma was guilty of a "failure to monitor" the employment of the players.

Oklahoma President David Boren said the university will appeal the NCAA's "failure to monitor" finding and the ruling that Oklahoma must erase the wins from the 2005 season. Oklahoma has 15 days to notify the NCAA in writing of any such appeal.

The Sooners went 8-4 and beat Oregon in the Holiday Bowl to end the 2005 season. Records from that season involving quarterback Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman J.D. Quinn must be erased, the NCAA said, and coach Bob Stoops' career record will be amended to reflect the erased wins, dropping it from 86-19 in eight seasons to 78-19.

Oklahoma also will have two years of probation added to an earlier penalty, extending the Sooners' probation to May 23, 2010.

Those sanctions are in addition to those already self-imposed by Oklahoma, which has banned athletes from working at the car dealership until at least the 2008-09 academic year and moved to prevent the athletes' supervisor at the dealership, Brad McRae, from being involved with the university's athletics program until at least August 2011.

Oklahoma also will reduce the number of football coaches who are allowed to recruit off campus this fall. The Sooners also dismissed Bomar, Quinn and walk-on Jermaine Hardison from the team.

Paul Dee, the athletic director at Miami and the interim chairman of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions, said Oklahoma will be allowed to keep the money it received for playing in the 2005 Holiday Bowl, because the NCAA does not regulate bowl games.

"Although this case centered on a few violations involving three student-athletes, the committee finds this case to be significant and serious for several reasons," the NCAA report said, noting the length of time of the violations and the fact that Oklahoma had appeared before the committee in April 2006 regarding violations in its men's basketball program.

On Aug. 3 -- the day before the Sooners began preseason practice -- Stoops dismissed Bomar and Quinn from the team after the university determined they had been paid for work not performed at Big Red Sports and Imports.

That led to an NCAA investigation, which found that Bomar, Quinn and Hardison had been paid for time they did not work at the car dealership and that Hardison received payment for time he spent participating in a scrimmage and spring game.

The players and McRae engaged "in a deliberate scheme to deceive both the employer's payroll system and the university's employment monitoring system in an attempt to violate NCAA rules of which they were real aware," the report stated.

The committee found that Oklahoma "demonstrated a failure to monitor" the employment of several athletes, including some football players who worked during the academic year. The NCAA said that failure led to the university not detecting NCAA rules violations.

During the investigation, the university disputed that allegation, arguing that the NCAA should applaud, not penalize, its efforts to root out violations and noted that NCAA president Myles Brand told one news outlet that the university "acted with integrity in taking swift and decisive action" in the case.

Dee said Wednesday that Oklahoma should be praised for quickly dismissing the players from the team, calling that action "very influential on the committee."

Still, the committee said that Oklahoma should have undertaken more extensive efforts to monitor the players' employment, because the dealership apparently was the largest employer of Oklahoma athletes.

Boren disagreed, saying in a statement that "any mistakes made by the athletic department compliance staff while monitoring would not have prevented the intentional wrongdoing by the student athletes and the employer involved."

Stoops said he "strongly supported" Boren's decision to appeal.

"Our current team is focused on the upcoming season," Stoops said. "The university is dealing with a matter that relates to the 2005 season. This group of players and those that will join our program later have no reason to be concerned about our goals or the direction of our program. Those things remain unchanged."

Both Bomar and Quinn lost a season of eligibility. Bomar has been ordered by the NCAA to pay back more than $7,400 in extra benefits to charity, while Quinn was told to pay back more than $8,100. Both players transferred to Division I-AA schools -- Bomar to Sam Houston State and Quinn to Montana -- where they can resume their careers this season.

Through Sam Houston State athletic department spokesman Paul Ridings, Bomar declined comment Wednesday.

When reached on his cell phone, Quinn said he did not pay any attention to the infractions committee's ruling on Oklahoma, calling it "dumb" and referring to it with an expletive.

"I have no idea," Quinn said. "I don't care."

Oklahoma officials also appeared before the Committee on Infractions in April 2006 following an investigation into hundreds of improper recruiting phone calls by former basketball coach Kelvin Sampson's staff.

Oklahoma escaped major sanctions in that case, as the infractions committee also found the university guilty of a "failure to monitor," a less severe ruling than "lack of institutional control," which had been recommended by the NCAA's enforcement staff.

The committee mostly accepted the university's self-imposed sanctions, which included reductions in scholarships, recruiting calls and trips and visits to the school by prospective recruits.

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Meantime, The University of Oklahoma will appeal the decision announced Wedenesday by the NCAA Committee on Infractions. OU President David L. Boren and Head Football Coach Bob Stoops released statements of reaction.

Statement from OU President David L. Boren: "It is appropriate that the action taken today by the NCAA does not limit the ability of our football team to succeed in the upcoming or future seasons."

"In light of all the circumstances surrounding this case and as a matter of principle, the university has decided to appeal two elements of this decision - the penalty of erasing the 2005 season record and the finding of failure to monitor. Any mistakes made by the athletics department compliance staff while monitoring would not have prevented the intentional wrongdoing by the student athletes and the employer involved. The university developed the evidence of wrongdoing by the players and employer and took immediate action. Myles Brand, President of the NCAA said at the time, `.... I want to compliment the university insofar as that they took immediate action once they completed their internal investigation.'"

"Above all, we do not believe that erasing the 2005 season from the record books is fair to the over 100 student athletes and coaches who played by the rules and worked their hearts out for a successful season that year."

"The University remains strongly committed to setting the highest possible standards for our athletics program. We are continuing to enhance our compliance system, which includes the action taken last year to house the comprehensive compliance program in the Office of the General Counsel of the university."

Statement from OU Head Football Coach Bob Stoops: "I strongly support President Boren's statement and position, and I appreciate his support of our program. Our current team is focused on the upcoming season. The university is dealing with a matter that relates to the 2005 season. This group of players and those that will join our program later have no reason to be concerned about our goals or the direction of our program. Those things remain unchanged. We remain a program that is concentrated on winning championships and my expectation is that we will compete on that level for many years."

Brief Overview of the appeal process: NCAA rules allow member institutions to appeal findings, penalties or both. To be considered by the appeals committee, the member institution's written notice of appeal shall be received by the NCAA president not later than 15 calendar days from the date of the public release of the committee's report. The member's notice of appeal shall contain a statement of the date of the public release of the committee's report and a statement indicating whether the institution desires to submit its appeal in writing only or whether the institution requests an in-person hearing.

The time line is as follows: The University has 15 calendar days to notify the NCAA president of its intention to appeal. Once the University has been notified that the notice has been received by the NCAA president, the University has 30 days to file its appeal. The Committee on Infractions then has 30 days from the receipt of that appeal to file its response. The University then has 14 days from the receipt of that response to reply, if it chooses to do so. After that, the Infractions Appeals Committee considers the matter. The process could take approximately six months to complete.

The specific penalties appealed are stayed pending the Infractions Appeals Committee's decision. This stay is automatic.

Story Courtesy: CBS.sportsline.com, AP Wire Reports, And The University Of Oklahoma Sports Information


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