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NCAA Not Doing its Job When it Comes to Oklahoma State’s Postseason Ban

The NCAA is punishing Isaac Likekele, Cade Cunningham and Ferron Flavors.



Mike Boynton is the only coach or player on the Cowboys’ roster during Lamont Evans’ year in Stillwater who is still involved with Oklahoma State.

Gone is Evans, who was promptly fired after his involvement with the FBI’s investigation into college basketball was made known. Gone is Brad Underwood, who was OSU’s head coach that season. Gone is every player, including Jeffrey Carroll, who is thought to be the only player somewhat involved with the investigation.

So, who exactly is the NCAA punishing with its one-year postseason ban that was announced Friday?

The NCAA is punishing the kids it is supposed to protect.

This late in this cycle, OSU players are now stuck with a tough decision. Do they try to get out of their national letter of intent? Do the returners try to transfer elsewhere? That is tough within itself when for months (years?) they have planned to attend college in Stillwater and put in the work necessary to do so. It’s becomes even more difficult with the coronavirus pandemic that makes visiting other schools impossible at this time, not to mention the smaller pool of schools with scholarships available this late.

The NCAA is punishing Cade Cunningham. Instead of taking a “lucrative offer” to play in the G Leauge, Cunningham chose to play a year of NCAA basketball. Now with time ticking down, Cunningham gets thrust into another decision-making process. Does he stay at OSU? Does he go to the G League? Does he look for another school with a scholarship still open this late?

The NCAA is punishing Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe. Moncrieffe decided to sign with OSU from all the way in Canada. Now what does he do? The G League likely won’t reach out to him. So now he has to choose whether to come to OSU anyway or find another school with an open scholarship that he likely won’t be able to visit because of the pandemic.

The NCAA is punishing Rondel Walker. Walker decided to stay in state to be a Cowboy, and he also got to do so with his good friend, Cunningham. Now Walker could look elsewhere and even if he chooses to stay, Cunningham could be gone.

Cunningham, Moncrieffe and Walker were freshmen in high school the season Evans was an assistant coach.

But it goes beyond OSU’s 2020 freshman class.

The NCAA is punishing Isaac Likekele. Liekekle, who was a junior in high school in Evans’ year was an assistant coach, was initially committed to Fresno State after an ankle injury cut his senior summer of AAU ball short. Likekele worked his way from the No. 156 player in his recruiting class to making the United States’ U19 FIBA World Cup team and winning a gold medal in Greece last summer. After two seasons of grinding as OSU’s point guard and not making the NCAA Tournament, the NCAA is cutting his best chance yet to get to the big dance.

The NCAA is punishing Ferron Flavors. Flavors was unranked as a prospect in 2016 but received an offer to play at Fairfield and took it. After a year there, Flavors transferred to Cal Baptist and after a year there, he made it from unranked prospect to high major player.

Every one of the players on OSU’s roster has a story. Hidde Roessink came from The Netherlands. Donovan Williams was pushed out of his in-state commitment and battled his way to OSU after tearing his ACL. Yor Anei fought to get to OSU after struggling academically in high school. Yet now the NCAA is deciding to punish people who had absolutely nothing to do with Lamont Evans or OSU during the time in question.

There are times and places for postseason bans, like say the corrupt coach is still in charge or players who took illegal money are on the roster, but that isn’t the case in Stillwater. To take it one more step, the NCAA decided to announce the ban late in a cycle, not allowing much time for kids to shuffle (and again, it’s in the middle of a pandemic even if there was time!).

On an NCAA-owned web page titled “What is the NCAA?” the first sentence reads: “The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a member-led organization dedicated to the well-being and lifelong success of college athletes.”

Well NCAA, you aren’t doing your job.

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