Oklahoma State Punished by N.C.A.A. for Role in Basketball Recruiting Scandal

Oklahoma State Punished by N.C.A.A. for Role in Basketball Recruiting Scandal

Oklahoma State Punished by N.C.A.A. for Role in Basketball Recruiting Scandal

Oklahoma State Punished by N.C.A.A. for Role in Basketball Recruiting Scandal

Evans, who did not cooperate with N.C.A.A. investigators, was hit with a 10-year show-cause penalty, effectively banning him from coaching for a decade.

The penalties are in line with what the Rice Commission, formed shortly after Evans and three college assistant coaches were arrested along with others, had in mind when it was assembled by N.C.A.A. president Mark Emmert — putting some teeth into the enforcement of rules against under-the-table payments to college athletes.

Oklahoma State cooperated with the investigation and did not contest wrongdoing by Evans, who had recently arrived from South Carolina, where an agent and financial adviser testified that they had paid Evans to steer a player to the financial adviser. But it took a stance much like that of Kansas, which is bitterly contesting three Level 1 allegations, claiming it was a victim.

Oklahoma State “was the first one up and the committee appears to be sending a message,” said Chuck Smrt, an N.C.A.A. enforcement officer-turned-consultant who represented Oklahoma State in front of the committee on infractions.

The school has until June 20 to make its appeal, which would provide a stay for the penalties that include the loss of three scholarships over the next three seasons, a $10,000 fine plus 1 percent of the basketball budget, and a host of recruiting restrictions, many of which were self-imposed.

It is possible, but not likely, that the appeal could be drawn out long enough that Oklahoma State would be able to play in the N.C.A.A. tournament next season even if the ban is upheld. But Coach Mike Boynton said he would be having conversations with all his players over their options — including Cunningham, a tall, savvy guard who may be the most N.B.A.-ready freshman in his draft class.

Boynton said they would discuss whether Cunningham should stay at Oklahoma State, where his brother, Cannen, was hired as an assistant last year, or consider other possibilities: transferring, heading overseas or playing in the G-League, which is offering six-figure salaries to elite prospects. Cunningham chose Oklahoma State over Kentucky, and also considered Florida, North Carolina and Washington.


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