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Wait, OSU Basketball Had to Forfeit All of Its 1992 Big Eight Conference Wins?

On the infamous Randy Davis.



In doing some research for an Eddie Sutton thing I wrote on Thursday, I stumbled across something I’d never seen. I was looking at OSU’s first two seasons under Eddie — both Sweet 16 losses, by the way — and saw this on College Basketball Reference.

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Wait … what?

Did I miss something here? Setting aside the humor of two teams with 0 total conference wins playing for a spot in the Elite Eight, how did this happen? How did OSU go from 8-6 and second in the Big 12 behind KU to, well, 0-14 and last?

I reached out to my guy Doug D. of Sports Reference (read this on them if you haven’t). He’s an OSU guy, and I asked him if he’d ever heard of it. He said he hadn’t either but we both did some Googling and here’s what we found.

There was a guy named Randy Davis on OSU’s team in 1991-92. He played in 36 games — which is the second most anyone has ever played in a single season — and even played 13 minutes (and scored 3 points) against Michigan in the finale.

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After the season he decided to transfer to a NAIA school, according to this article in The Oklahoman. Here’s the Associated Press from April 9, 1993 on the forfeiture of wins.

The Big Eight Conference ordered Oklahoma State on Thursday to forfeit all of its conference basketball games from the 1991-92 season for using an ineligible player.

The Cowboys were 8-6 in league games in 1991-92 and won two games in the Big Eight’s postseason tournament. Randy Davis had a problem with his transcript that was not caught by the university, the conference said. Neither the player nor the school was at fault, but the games had to be forfeited because of the significant playing time of the athlete.

Davis, a junior college transfer, played for only that season. Big Eight faculty representatives and athletic directors voted not to exempt Oklahoma State from the rule requiring the games to be forfeited because of the amount of time the athlete played. “Our record stays the same,” said Steve Buzzard, Cowboy athletic department spokesman. “It’s basically just an asterisk in the record book.” [Tulsa World]

Bizarre, right? But it backs up what The Oklahoman had as well on Davis, who averaged 8 points, 4 boards and a block in 17 minutes a game that year.

In a slap-on-the-wrist ruling Thursday, the Big Eight ruled that Oklahoma State inadvertently used an ineligible player and must forfeit its conference games from the 1991-92 basketball season.

“It’s unfortunate that the Big Eight wouldn’t revise the rule in this case,” Buzzard said. “We asked the NCAA to review the situation at the same time we instituted an internal investigation 13 months ago, and the NCAA said there was no violation.

“The NCAA completely looked into it and found no major violations. They said no one at OSU was at fault, and neither was the student-athlete involved. In the NCAA News it was stated that no one knew or should have known that there was a problem.

“But it did turn out that the player was ineligible, and he did play. The Big Eight rule is that if you use an ineligible player you forfeit those games. We asked the Big Eight faculty reps and athletic directors to look at this situation and revise the rule, give us some relief, but they decided not to do it.

“The NCAA has closed the case. It’s a done deal with them. The only thing pending was the Big Eight ruling.” [The Oklahoman]

So there you go. There’s the answer to a question none of us knew existed a day ago (or maybe some of us knew, but I am not among them).

One of the delights of running this site is that content begets content. At the beginning, I always worried about not having enough to say. Now, I worry that there’s simply not enough time to say everything that needs to be said. This is one example. Research on Eddie Sutton’s past leads to a rabbit hole of ineligibility on a guy named Randy Davis, who didn’t exactly run rampant through the league but did affect OSU’s win-loss record in 1992 more than anyone else on the team.

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