Emotional response after NCAA Denies OSU Men’s Basketball Appeal; Upholds Postseason Ban

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STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) — The Oklahoma State Men’s basketball team is ineligible for postseason play for the 2021-22 season after their appeal in the Lamont Evans case was denied.

Brett McMurphy of ActionSportsHQ was the first to report the decision.

Oklahoma State University said Lamont Evans, the OSU assistant basketball coach, was fired in September of 2017.

Federal criminal charges were brought against ten people, including four college basketball coaches, as well as managers, financial advisers, and representatives of a major international sportswear company.

The charges come after a two-year investigation into criminal influence in NCAA basketball.

The coaches charged in the case, are accused of steering players to advisers who paid bribes to the coaches, Bloomberg reports.

According to court documents, Evans is accused of receiving at least $22,000 in bribes in exchange for his agreement to exert his official influence over certain student-athletes.

He allegedly agreed to steer specific players to financial advisers and sportswear companies.

“We were surprised to learn this morning of potential actions against one of our assistant basketball coaches by federal officials. We are reviewing and investigating the allegations. We are cooperating fully with officials. Let it be clear we take very seriously the high standards of conduct expected in our athletic department. We will not tolerate any deviation from those standards.” -Oklahoma State University 

OSU said Evans “has been terminated for cause” in 2017.

“I am very disappointed by the NCAA Division 1 infractions Appeals Committee’s decision to uphold a one-year ban on the postseason competition for our Men’s basketball team this upcoming season. From the briefings I received on this matter when I became President of Oklahoma State, the ban was excessive and did not align with the facts. We were right to appeal and though we would receive fair consideration. The NCAA’s inconsistent standards and applications of penalties are a reflection of a broken system. Our on-year postseason ban is excessive, especially considering our coaches and players were never involved with the rogue assistant coach who acted alone in violating the rules, as the evidence showed. Our appeal was about seeing a fair outcome from the NCAA and supporting our innocent coaches and players, who sadly will now pay the price.

Coach Boynton, his staff, and our players have returned our program to the national state the right way — through hard work, dedication, and following the rules. Coach Boynton is outstanding and leads our program with the utmost integrity. We are proud of him and his players. I am surprised the NCAA would turn their backs on principles of fairness, justice, and equality when considering what would have been an appropriate response to the facts.”

Dr. Kayse Shrum, Oklahoma State University President

“We are profoundly disappointed for our student-athletes, none of whom were here at the time of this case,” said OSU athletic director Chad 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. What message is the NCAA sending here? This is further evidence that the NCAA system is broken.”
OSU senior associate athletic director Kevin Fite is a former NCAA enforcement representative.

“After reading the decision, clearly, the Infractions Appeals Committee felt the Committee on Infractions did not provide enough analysis in their decision regarding the application of aggravating and mitigating factors in this case, a concern that has been expressed about the Committee on Infractions in other previous appeal decisions,” Fite said. “In fact, the Infractions Appeals Committee seems to take a harder stance against the Committee on Infractions than OSU. However, the Infractions Appeals Committee then determined that it could not question this insufficiently explained analysis provided by the Committee on Infractions due to this same lack of information. As a result, our institution faces inappropriate penalties and the NCAA process moves on like it has in the past.

“Throughout this process we have asked the NCAA what we could have done differently,” Fite said. “That question has yet to be answered.”

Mike Boynton the Oklahoma State’s head basketball coach issued this statement:

“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. I invite members of the NCAA enforcement staff, it’s Committee on Infractions, and appeals panel involved in our case to meet with my team, to look each of them in their eyes and explain why illicit conduct committed by a rogue assistant coach five years ago – conduct which led to no competitive advantage for our program, and for which the coach was fired immediately upon discovery by our administration – should serve as a basis for denying them the opportunity to experience postseason tournament play. This is the greatest disappointment in my career as a head coach.”

Sources tell News 4’s Dylan Buckingham OSU will explore legal options to fight the ruling.

This is a developing story, refresh often for updates.

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