Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Somewhere between a wrist slap and a knockout punch is the punishment the NCAA is meting out to Oklahoma following Workgate.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma must erase its wins from the 2005 season and will lose two scholarships for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, the NCAA said Wednesday.
The penalties stem from a case involving two players, including the Sooners' starting quarterback, who were kicked off the team last August for being paid for work they had not performed at a Norman car dealership. The NCAA said Oklahoma was guilty of a "failure to monitor" the employment of the players.
Oklahoma President David Boren said the university will appeal the NCAA's "failure to monitor" finding and the ruling that Oklahoma must erase the wins from the 2005 season. Oklahoma has 15 days to notify the NCAA in writing of any such appeal. ...
The players and McRae engaged "in a deliberate scheme to deceive both the employer's payroll system and the university's employment monitoring system in an attempt to violate NCAA rules of which they were real aware," the report stated. ...
Stoops said he "strongly supported" Boren's decision to appeal.
"Our current team is focused on the upcoming season," Stoops said. "The university is dealing with a matter that relates to the 2005 season. This group of players and those that will join our program later have no reason to be concerned about our goals or the direction of our program. Those things remain unchanged."

Somewhere in Norman and across the nation, thousands of people are thinking, "Can't we just forget all of 2005?"

If you want to take the losses, too, I'd be cool with that.

Any year in which Oklahoma loses to TCU(!), Texas and Texas Tech probably feels like a winless season to Sooners fans. Now, it officially is a winless season.

More serious for practical purposes is the loss of two scholarships -- though the LA Times argues the lost season might be worse in a way. A loss of two is not colossal, but a pair of scholarships is still a pair of scholarships. OU also got an extra year of probation, though that apparently means very little in an era when you can just keep adding to your probation.

Also significant in this case is the relative severity (for one of the big boys) of the penalties for a crime where the effects are largely in the past. After all, both Bomar and Quinn are no longer with the team, and if colleges can be punished for everything their players are doing that they should know about...

On the other hand, C&F personally thinks this is pretty fair. Bomar, in particular, played a significant role in 2005 for Oklahoma -- just pretending the faux work had no impact on the season would have been ludicrous. But you don't want to kill the team for something that it arguably had no role in.

That said, it's a good thing the Sooners don't use a Native American mascot. Then they'd be in real trouble. We're talking death penalty.

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