OSU football program facing fines, penalties following NCAA violations

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STILLWATER, Okla. – A local university is facing several penalties and fines after it was found violating NCAA rules.

The NCAA says Oklahoma State University is facing one year of probation, $8,500 in fines, suspension of the Orange Pride program and university-imposed recruiting restrictions.

From 2008 through 2012, officials say OSU did not follow its own written policies and procedures for students who tested positive for banned substances.

In a release, the NCAA says five athletes in the football program tested positive for drugs and were still allowed to play.

“The athletics director believed he had latitude in the application of the policy and deferred to the head football coach’s recommendation on whether to suspend student-athletes who failed a drug test. As a result, five football student-athletes competed in a total of seven games when they should have been withheld from competition,” the release read.

Also, officials say the university’s Orange Pride program engaged in “impermissible hosting activities during football prospects’ official and unofficial visits.”

The Orange Pride is an all-female group organized and directed by the football program to participate in hosting events for recruits.

“NCAA rules do not allow the use of student hosts in a way that is inconsistent with the university’s policies on providing campus tours or visits to all prospective students. The panel was concerned with the university’s continued use of the group despite information distributed by the NCAA specifying that groups like Orange Pride for athletics recruiting was impermissible,” it read.

While there were violations, officials say they did not feel that the university failed to monitor its football program.

Penalties that will be assessed on the school are as follows:

  • A one-year probation period from April 24, 2015 through April 23, 2016.
  • A $5,000 fine.
  • A $3,500 fine representing $500 for each of the seven games in which a football student-athlete participated when he should have been withheld.
  • A limit of 30 official visits per year during the 2015-16 years (which was self-imposed by the university.)
  • A reduction of coaches participating in off-campus evaluations by one (from 10 to nine in the fall and nine to eight in the spring) during the 2015-16 years (which was self-imposed by the university.)
  • A reduction in the number of evaluation days by 10 days in the fall and spring during the 2015-16 years (which was self-imposed by the university.)
  • The school and football program may not use the Orange Pride program, and may not organize another student group to assist in recruiting prospects for four years.

The investigation stemmed from a series of articles that were published about the university by Sports Illustrated. 

The investigation determined that many of the allegations from the articles were unfounded.

OSU responded to the NCAA’s announcement Friday afternoon.

“We respect and accept the decision of the Division I Committee on Infractions and are very thankful for their review of this matter. The Committee agreed with our position that only two of the three allegations were established and those two findings did not warrant significant penalties. While the institution diligently strives to avoid any NCAA infractions, these findings did not result from deliberate actions by institutional personnel to violate NCAA legislation.

From the moment Sports Illustrated made serious allegations against the Oklahoma State University football program in September 2013, we were committed to finding the truth. We retained an outside consultant and in conjunction with the NCAA Enforcement Staff, a thorough review was conducted, resulting in a joint statement by the Enforcement Staff and the institution in October 2014 that the allegations of misconduct as reported by the media in September 2013 were fundamentally unfounded.

As we bring this matter to a close, we were gratified that the Committee on Infractions recognized OSU’s exemplary cooperation and its affirmative steps to expedite final resolution of the matter.

We appreciate the professionalism and diligence of the NCAA Enforcement Staff throughout the process. We are pleased to have this matter resolved. We are eager to move forward and excited about the future of Oklahoma State football. Oklahoma State University is committed to operating its sports programs with integrity, and I am pleased with the way Mike Holder and Mike Gundy are instilling that integrity in our football program.”

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