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Boynton’s Frustrated Tone Turns to Patented Confidence of Better Days Ahead

“This will not stop me from having success.”



Mike Boynton has had a handful of bad days as the Cowboys’ basketball coach, but I’ve never heard the tone in his voice that I heard Friday afternoon.

Shortly after learning that Oklahoma State was slapped with a postseason ban for the 2020-21 basketball season, Boynton was on a Zoom call with members of the media from all over the country to discuss his initial feelings.

The call started at 1:30 p.m., and Boynton had only heard the news about 10 a.m. He said he quickly called all of his players wanting them to hear about it from him before it was released from the media. Then after those emotional 13 phone calls he was thrust into this Zoom call for more than an hour.

Just a day before, Boynton was on a call with the media talking about the racial injustices in the United States. There, Boynton spoke with confidence, conviction and optimism for change. But anyone who has listened closely to OSU’s coach over the past three years could tell the difference in tone Friday.

You could tell Boynton was stunned with the NCAA’s decision. As a whole, OSU has seemed optimistic in this situation. Lamont Evans was a rogue coach, he was fired, then-head coach Brad Underwood was no longer there, none of the players were there. Therein lied what seemed like the source of Boynton’s agitation (and mine), that the NCAA is punishing OSU’s current players for what an assistant coach did three years ago.

“Even the bad actors aren’t punished in these cases,” Boynton said. “I made it a point — I wasn’t involved in this, at any point, in any capacity. And neither were the 13 guys we committed scholarships to for the 2020-21 season when the postseason ban is in play. So, fundamentally it’s flawed, and in any other way you want to describe it, it’s flawed. It must change.”

Boynton was stern. More stern than practices I’ve been to where players are turning the ball over too frequently. More stern than when he was forced to announce dismissals of players from the program. He was stern to the point that, though it was audio only, it sounded as if he was about to be brought to tears at times.

Boynton also mentioned a few times that his name wasn’t mentioned in the investigations adding to his frustration.

But as the call went on, the undeterring confidence we are accustomed to when hearing Boynton speak started to come back.

Boynton said he was going to support any and all of his players’ decisions regarding their futures, including Cade Cunningham. Boynton said he hasn’t recruited Cunningham for four years to stop supporting him whether he chooses to stay or go.

And in the end, Boynton said, as he has all along, that Oklahoma State will get through this.

“This will not stop me from having success,” Boynton said. “This is gonna be another bump in the road in what seems like an encyclopedia of bumps in the road, but we will have success. We just have to figure out a way to do it within a new scope of operation. We’re obviously gonna fight this decision to some degree.

“… But I’m not the least worried about the ability of this program to be successful. In fact, every time something like this has happened, it’s given me more conviction because I know when the day comes when we’re having success I’ll enjoy it that much more.”

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