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Oklahoma Attorney General Calls Out NCAA for Harsh Penalty against OSU in Four-Page Letter

OAG takes it to the NCAA.

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It’s been three weeks since the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions dropped the hammer on Oklahoma State, hanging a postseason ban, the loss of three scholarships and more for what it considered to be a Level I-Standard violation.

The punishment sure seemed to dwarf the crime causing many of us (and plenty of folks nationally) to cry foul. Oklahoma state Attorney General Mike Hunter is the latest to join the cause.

On Friday, his office announced that the OAG had addressed an official four-page letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert, explaining his disapproval for the committee’s findings (I’m sure much more eloquently and astutely than I could).

You can read the full letter here, but there were a couple excerpts I wanted to highlight.

First off, a strong take.

“The punishment by the NCAA to the OSU men’s basketball program is excessive, is completely unfair and only hurts the student athletes, who have worked their entire lives to play basketball at this level.

“In its findings, the NCAA admits that the university had no knowledge or connection to the corrupt act of a lone wolf, and his actions were of no benefit whatsoever to the university. The NCAA’s punishment is unjustifiable, illogical and needs to be re-assessed.”

We’ve looked at the situation from about every angle you can — including a deep dive on the NCAA’s 27-page report — and no matter how you slice it, Lamont Evans apparently acted alone, without OSU’s or the rest of the staff’s knowledge. And the NCAA came to the same conclusion itself before doling out that controversial punishment.

More from Hunter.

“OSU, the Committee argues, completely ‘owns the conduct’ of the coach. But this is not how the employer/employee relationship is typically understood to work. Employers are not usually responsible for every wrong employees commit, and especially not at the same level of culpability.”

Then he culled this not-so-great nugget from the NCAA’s report.

The attorney general also found ‘worrisome’ that some aspects of the decision appear to have been copied and pasted from other decision from the NCAA. He cites, for example, on page 18 of the investigation, the NCAA mistakenly labeled the former basketball coach the ‘head track coach’. [OAG.gov]

😳

He went on.

“What concerns me deeply, though, is the level of punishment meted out despite OSU’s full cooperation and without sufficient explanation, punishment that will invariably and negatively affect the school’s innocent student-athletes as much as, if not more than, the leaders and authority figures of the institution.”

This has been Mike Boynton’s point from the day these sanctions were announced.

“I’ve got a bunch of good kids who want to work hard, who are about the right things, and to almost have, what they’ve already been punished for, just living through this for three years, doubled down on and saying, ‘We’re gonna punish you more,’ just really, really misses the mark totally,” Boynton said.

Whether or not this letter will have any affect on OSU’s upcoming appeal is remains to be seen. I assume it won’t. But it does go further in pushing the narrative which continues to be self-fulfilling — the system is broken and is likely headed for big changes. Whether or not that helps OSU next season, is unclear.

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