OSU MBB’s Appeal Rejected; Banned for 2022 Tournament

The NCAA rejected Oklahoma State’s appeal of a postseason ban ruling from 2021 — upholding the initial punishment, according to a report from CBS Sports on Wednesday. That means the Cowboys men’s basketball team will remain ineligible for the 2022 March Madness tournament.

The NCAA also upheld all of its original punishments, including a three-year probationary period that will start effective immediately and end Nov. 3, 2024; a scholarship reduction of three over an unspecified period of time; and other recruiting restrictions (such as fewer days on the road, fewer official visits and phone call limitations) that were previously put in place and adhered to by OSU.

osuOklahoma State was one of four schools that had an assistant arrested by the FBI in late September 2017. That assistant, Lamont Evans, pled guilty in January 2019 and eventually spent three months in federal prison. Evans was found to have acted unethically and illegally after being captured on federal wiretaps and surreptitious videos. Evidence obtained by the federal government caught Evans willingly participating in a plot to recruit players to schools he was employed by: Oklahoma State and, prior to that, South Carolina. Evans was proven to have accepted at least $18,150 in bribes — all of it money unknowingly provided by the federal government during its sting operation. Evans was working with Christian Dawkins, a former runner for a sports agency, who was trying to build out his own business for future basketball clients. Dawkins was convicted in May 2019.

Below is an excerpt of the response from OSU.

“We are profoundly disappointed for our student-athletes, none of whom were here at the time of this case,” said OSU athletic director Chad Weiberg. “This is an unprecedented decision by the NCAA. There are other strikingly similar cases that did not include postseason bans and had only minor penalties. We had a rogue employee carrying out actions that benefited him alone and he went to great lengths to assure his actions were undetectable. He was terminated when we learned of his actions.

“We cooperated with the NCAA, expedited the process and received no credit for it. What message is the NCAA sending here? This is further evidence that the NCAA system is broken.”

OSU senior associate athletic director Kevin Fite is a former NCAA enforcement representative.

“After reading the decision, clearly, the Infractions Appeals Committee felt the Committee on Infractions did not provide enough analysis in their decision regarding the application of aggravating and mitigating factors in this case, a concern that has been expressed about the Committee on Infractions in other previous appeal decisions,” Fite said. “In fact, the Infractions Appeals Committee seems to take a harder stance against the Committee on Infractions than OSU. However, the Infractions Appeals Committee then determined that it could not question this insufficiently explained analysis provided by the Committee on Infractions due to this same lack of information. As a result, our institution faces inappropriate penalties and the NCAA process moves on like it has in the past.

“Throughout this process, we have asked the NCAA what we could have done differently,” Fite said. “That question has yet to be answered.”

Mike Boynton, who is entering his fifth season as Oklahoma State’s head basketball coach, has never coached at OSU without the threat of NCAA sanctions.

“I recently noted that the time taken for a decision on our appeal was unfathomable,” he said. “So too was the outcome, not to mention incredibly unjust and unfair. I invite members of the NCAA enforcement staff, its Committee on Infractions, and appeals panel involved in our case to meet with my team, to look each of them in their eyes and explain why illicit conduct committed by a rogue assistant coach five years ago – conduct which led to no competitive advantage for our program, and for which the coach was fired immediately upon discovery by our administration – should serve as a basis for denying them the opportunity to experience postseason tournament play. This is the greatest disappointment in my career as a head coach.”

To read the full report from CBS Sports, click here. And to read the full release from OSU, click here