NCAA says Oklahoma State coach's comments led to threats against committee members

·Writer
·4 min read

We have progressed to the "NCAA calling out Oklahoma State for calling out the NCAA" portion of the Cowboys' postseason ban.

A week after Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton emotionally criticized the NCAA's decision to uphold his program's postseason ban, now set to take effect this season, the NCAA released a statement claiming such comments have caused harassment against its committee members and implied Boyton was less than truthful in his comments.

Here's the full statement, signed by NCAA president Mark Emmert, NCAA board of governors chair John DeGioia and NCAA Division I board of directors chair Jere Morehead:

Comments by Oklahoma State personnel regarding its infractions case resulted in NCAA volunteer committee members and staff receiving threatening and offensive messages after being identified by name. This is unacceptable. 

Oklahoma State personnel encouraged individuals to circumvent the NCAA member-created process that every school agrees to participate in as part of their responsibility to each other. Further, there is a troubling trend of misstating facts about the infractions process by schools that disagree with the infractions outcomes. Each member has the ability to seek change to the Division I infractions process, and there is a review group underway looking at how to improve the process.  

This is also a clear example of the work that needs to be done to address issues and behaviors like this moving forward with the new NCAA Constitution and Division I Transformation process. We know that an adverse decision can be emotional, but personal attacks against individuals simply carrying out their responsibilities are inappropriate, unethical and potentially dangerous.

For those of you who don't speak NCAA, here is our rough translation:

We got harassed by fans because of what Oklahoma State said. 

Oklahoma State is angry about their punishment, and now they are among the schools lying about how we've handled their cases.

We may change our rules if the rule-breaking schools keep behaving this way.

The NCAA notably doesn't get into how the Oklahoma State side has been "misstating facts" about its infractions process.

What Oklahoma State's coach said about the NCAA

Few words better describe Boynton's comments last Wednesday better than "scorched earth."

The coach opened his news conference addressing the NCAA's decision by saying he was "disappointed, disgusted, appalled, frustrated — but somewhere in Indianapolis there's a group of people celebrating."

Then he really started laying into the organization, claiming OSU's lone violation was a $300 payment to a player, calling out members of the NCAA's enforcement arm by name and recommending other schools in hot water not cooperate lest they face a similar punishment.

"It's no wonder that nobody trusts them. Because, they get to hide behind letters. COI. NIF. And they don't have to come and do this, and answer questions, and talk to kids, and talk to parents. So the message is clear, because we had one $300 violation. No failure to monitor. No lack of institutional control. No recruiting violations. No head coach responsibility. No players playing ineligible. 

So if you've got some of those things going on, don't do what we did. What we did was we asked them that we work with them through this process. On Jan. 20 of 2020, I flew to Atlanta to do the first round of this process with the NCAA. The next day, we played OU here. It was important that I be there. I went to Atlanta for no reason, to cooperate with John Duncan and Sherika Montgomery and Russell Register. And then this year, on Feb. 7, while in Lawrence, Kansas for a game, the day we played, we had an appeal hearing, and we cooperated, and we showed up, and we answered their questions. 

We provided all the information they asked. So if you're one of those other schools, be careful what they ask you for. 

Oklahoma State athletic director Chad Weiberg was also critical of the NCAA's infractions process, saying it is "broken and needs to be fixed," per ESPN.

This whole case stems from the FBI's investigation into Oklahoma State and a handful of other schools over corruption in college basketball. Former Oklahoma State associate head coach Lamont Evans was eventually sentenced to three months in prison over allegations that he accepted bribes to steer his players toward certain agents and financial advisers. 

Oklahoma State was issued a Level 1 violation for Evans' offenses by the NCAA, eventually leading to a postseason ban that would have applied to last year's Cade Cunningham-led team had the Cowboys not appealed the penalty. Per CBS Sports, the NCAA's only evidence of any Oklahoma State rule-breaking was proof of Evans being involved in a $300 payment to former Oklahoma State senior Jeffrey Carroll, who later paid back the money and served a three-game suspension during the 2018-19 season. 

Boynton, who took over the program in 2017, was never implicated in the scandal. Evans, who refused to cooperate with the NCAA investigation, was issued a 10-year show-cause penalty. South Carolina, the other school Evans worked at while violating NCAA rules, only got two years probation.

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