A bad day for Oklahoma State usually doubles as a good day for Kansas, and vice versa, considering the two schools are Big 12 rivals from bordering states. But such is not the case this time. Because the bad news Oklahoma State received from the NCAA on Friday suggested even worse news is coming for KU.
Friday was punishment day.
The NCAA hit Oklahoma State with a one-year postseason ban, three years probation, a fine in excess of $10,000, three scholarship losses over the next three years, and several penalties that will restrict or reduce recruiting opportunities because former assistant Lamont Evans accepted $22,000 from two financial advisors after agreeing to push student-athletes to eventually enter into a business relationship with them.
One Level I violation brought that hammer.
So if you’re Kansas, and you’re sitting on a notice of allegations featuring five Level I violations, how are you feeling right now? If you’re Kansas, and you just heard officials explain that Oklahoma State’s punishment would’ve been worse if not for Oklahoma State’s willingness to fully cooperate, how uneasy are you right now considering it’s well-documented that Kansas is being less cooperative and prepared to fight?
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Now, before I go any farther, I should point out that the NCAA has forever been wildly inconsistent when it comes to the cases it pursues and how it punishes violators of rules. So consider that fact noted. Nothing is ever guaranteed. Precedents set often do not matter. But, that said, it’s impossible to digest what just happened to Oklahoma State and feel good about things if you’re connected to Kansas or South Carolina or TCU or NC State or USC or Arizona or LSU or Auburn or Louisville or Creighton or Alabama, all of which had staff members exposed as rule-breakers by the FBI. I mean, if Oklahoma State got hit this hard for one Level I violation committed by a person it fired within hours of his transgressions being made public, even after the school, according to the NCAA, cooperated completely, what is that gonna mean for these other schools?
I would assume not good things.
Auburn had an assistant coach (Chuck Person) arrested for, more or less, doing the same thing Evans was caught doing. So did Arizona (Book Richardson). So did USC (Tony Bland). So if the NCAA follows the precedent it just set — and who knows if it will? But if it does — then Auburn, USC and Arizona, at the very least, can expect postseason bans. And, again, don’t forget that Kansas is facing five Level I violations compared to Oklahoma State’s one. And that LSU’s coach was on a wiretap talking about a “strong-ass offer” made in violation of NCAA rules. And that Louisville was on probation when it had an assistant knowingly participate in a pay-for-play scheme involving former five-star prospect Brian Bowen.
Naturally, Oklahoma State has said it will appeal. But when the basis of the appeal is basically that you think you were punished too severely, and the NCAA is on record saying you were actually punished lightly relative to how you could’ve been punished, well, good luck. And, yes, I feel sick for OSU coach Mike Boynton and every player on the roster because they will pay a heavy price for the sins of another man.
But you know who should really feel sick?
And Louisville fans.
And fans of each other school that got caught up in the FBI investigation. On Friday, it was Oklahoma State’s time to be punished. But, in due time, everybody else’s time will come. And based on how severely the NCAA hit the Cowboys, it’s hard to envision it going well for any other program staring down the barrel.