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NCAA Rejects OSU’s Appeal, Banned for 2022 Postseason

OSU will not be eligible for the postseason this year.

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The NCAA has rejected Oklahoma State’s appeal regarding its postseason ban and the Cowboys will not be eligible for the 2022 postseason, the NCAA announced in a press release. The ruling was handed down Tuesday and news was delivered to the players Tuesday night. It comes a week before the 2021-22 season was set to begin.

Oklahoma State athletic director Chad Weiberg and men’s basketball coach Mike Boynton held a press conference about the news on Wednesday lambasting the NCAA’s antiquated process and, ultimately, its final decision.

“We are profoundly disappointed for our student-athletes, none of whom were here at the time of this case,” said 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,” he added. “What message is the NCAA sending here? This is further evidence that the NCAA system is broken.”

Boynton fought through tears during his media appearance and called out the NCAA enforcement staff by name who was involved in the process.

“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.”

OSU lost out on every step of its appeal, an unprecedented decision given its cooperation with the investigation and the scope of the case. It was handed the ban after former assistant coach, Lamont Evans, was caught using his influence to steer players to certain financial advisers and after he refused to cooperate in the case, which according to the NCAA was an aggravating factor in its final decision.

“In the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions decision regarding Oklahoma State, the infractions panel found the former associate head coach accepted cash bribes in exchange for arranging meetings for financial advisors with a student-athlete and his family,” the NCAA said in its release Wednesday. “The former associate head coach also knowingly made direct cash payments to a student-athlete. 

“The infractions panel found that the violation was severe breaches of conduct under NCAA rules, resulting in a Level I-standard case for the school and Level I-aggravated case for the former associate head coach,” the NCAA added.

OSU in its appeal argued that the infractions panel incorrectly classified OSU’s case at the same level as Evans, arguing that the personal conduct of him did not provide competitive advantages or benefits to the school. The infractions panel responded by saying that holding the school responsible at the same level was “consistent with legislated NCAA violation structures.”

“Specifically, the panel noted that a member school is responsible for its staff members, and when a staff member commits a violation while employed by the school, both the individual and the school are responsible for the violation.

“In its decision, the appeals committee agreed with the infractions panel, noting that NCAA members have established that control and responsibility for conduct in college sports rests with a school,” the decision continued. “Additionally, the appeals committee stated that assessment of level is tied to the conduct that resulted in the violation, and not the specific circumstances of the parties. As a result, the appeals committee upheld the infractions panel’s finding that Oklahoma State’s case was Level I.”

OSU seems to have been made an example of by the NCAA which could explain why it faced such a heavy-handed punishment. It is the first of the schools who were involved in the FBI scandal to be formally punished and, with the appeal done, to have its case officially resolved.

The Cowboys were picked to finish in the top half of the Big 12 this preseason with a core led by Avery Anderson, Isaac Likekele, Kalib Boone and transfers Moussa Cisse and Bryce Thompson. They will be eligible to compete during the regular season but unable to play in the Big 12 or NCAA Tournaments.

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