OU men's basketball to vacate 2009-10 wins, records
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Friday, July 29, 2011
7/29/11 at 5:17 AM
Related story: NCAA/Oklahoma basketball investigation timeline.
NORMAN - Oklahoma's self-imposed penalties resulting from a year-long investigation into the men's basketball program include the loss of all records from the Sooners' 2009-10 season.
OU stands to forfeit all 13 wins from that season. According to the self-imposed penalties detailed in the NCAA/OU summary disposition report released Thursday, OU also proposes the loss of one scholarship for the 2011-12 season, as well the loss of two official recruiting visits and 10 recruiting days for 2011-12.
Additionally, OU has self-imposed a two-year probation. This just 14 months after the expiration of OU's last probation, a penalty from the Rhett Bomar/Big Red Sports and Imports infractions case.
OU had a 13-18 record in 2009-10 and was 4-12 in Big 12 play. It was the program's fewest victories since the 1980-81 season.
Because the latest infractions occurred within a five-year period of the Bomar/Big Red case, OU was subject to NCAA "repeat violator" penalties. Those include a one- to two-year suspension of the institution's offending sport, in which games, coaching activities and scholarships are basically frozen.
According to the summary disposition report, however, "Those penalties are discretionary for the infractions committee and, based on case precedent, are not appropriate in this case.
"This is an isolated incident involving a single member of the coaching staff (former assistant Oronde Taliaferro), who clearly knew his lack of action to prevent or report the violation was not acceptable. No violations of this nature were the subject of a prior case and there is no lack of institutional control or failure to monitor present."
That bodes well for OU, now that the report has been sent to the NCAA infractions committee for consideration. Ultimately, though, the infractions committee passes final judgment. It will render OU's self-imposed penalties sufficient or recommend additional measures.
According to an OU statement Thursday, the committee's response "is not expected for several weeks."
At the heart of the case is Taliaferro. The former Jeff Capel assistant has been found guilty of two major violations involving a $3,000 loan in August 2009 from a Tampa financial adviser to a bank account held by former Sooner Tiny Gallon and his mother.
NCAA and OU personnel interviewed Capel during the investigation and concluded in the summary disposition report he "promoted an atmosphere of compliance, had no knowledge (of the) impermissible benefit and was not aware of Taliaferro's knowledge of the violation until Taliaferro told him about it in late March and early April 2010."
Capel remained the Sooners' coach through March 2011. He was fired after a second straight losing season and has since been hired as a Duke assistant.
Taliaferro, who resigned April 8, 2010, three weeks after TMZ first reported the loan, violated NCAA ethical-conduct legislation on two fronts.
According to the NCAA enforcement staff in the report: "Taliaferro admitted that he knew of the benefit provided... but failed to report the violation to (OU) administrators. Moreover, Taliaferro admitted that he provided false and misleading information during his Jan. 13, 2011, interview with the (NCAA) enforcement staff and institution regarding when he knew of the benefit provided."
Taliaferro came clean in his second interview last April 25, admitting he knew about the loan from Tampa financial adviser Jeffrey Hausinger the summer it took place.
"It's just been a horrible situation and a really bad decision and, you know, it's hard for me to live with myself and how it affects other people," Taliaferro said according to an interview transcript released with the report. "That's my own fault."
Taliaferro denied arranging the loan - reportedly provided so the Gallons could pay off a debt to Oak Hill Academy so Gallon's prep school transcript could be released to OU - during both interviews.
There is no evidence from the report that the NCAA interviewed Hausinger or Gallon. Several passages are redacted, and neither name appears.
Taliaferro did admit to speaking with Hausinger, as well as other financial advisers, about OU players. However, he maintained they all reached out primarily to get to San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, a longtime friend of Taliaferro's.
Within the report, the NCAA enforcement staff stated: "Based on the call patterns in Taliaferro's telephone records and Taliaferro's statements in his first interview denying any knowledge of or involvement in the impermissible benefit, the staff had reason to believe that Taliaferro might have been involved in arranging the impermissible benefit."
But then Taliaferro hired new counsel last April and granted a second interview, prompting the enforcement staff to back off that charge.
OU helped its case by detailing comprehensive changes in its compliance department since 2006, a $1.2 million budget and eight full-time employees included. It also worked cooperatively with NCAA investigators after receiving the NCAA's initial call about the situation March 9, 2010.
The university did, however, pay a price for outside influences.
"This case demonstrates the increased influence and involvement of outside third parties within the men's basketball environment," the NCAA enforcement staff stated in the report. "An industry of individuals that includes financial advisers, marketing representatives, business managers, runners and street agents who seek to broker elite athletes for financial gain."
OU paid a price for insiders as well - for the player whose family took money and the assistant who knew about it but ignored university and NCAA protocol.
"Sometimes good people make a poor decision," Taliaferro stated in the report, "and that's what happened with everyone involved with this particular matter. That does not excuse anything at all...
"I didn't do my job the correct way. As a result, it has turned out to be the worst nightmare and most difficult experience I could ever even imagine. ... I let Coach Capel down, our team, Joe Castiglione, President (David) Boren, and the entire University of Oklahoma."
Questions and answers regarding the NCAA/OU basketball investigation
1. Is the case resolved?
No. The NCAA and OU have agreed on their summary disposition report, in which the investigation is summarized and the penalties are detailed. However, that report has been submitted to the NCAA infractions committee for review.
The committee can accept the findings and penalties, or it can add sanctions. In the latter case, OU can request an in-person hearing before the infractions committee.
OU will want to avoid a hearing, given the fact that David Boren and Joe Castiglione went before the committee in both 2006 and '07 after violations were committed by the men's basketball and football programs.
2. What were the penalties in the report, and who imposed them?
OU self-imposed the following:
The vacation of wins won't resonate much, since that underachieving team went 13-18 overall and 4-12 in Big 12 play. The recruiting sanctions shouldn't cut too deeply.
- Two years of probation
- Vacation of wins and records from the 2009-10 season
- A one-scholarship reduction (13 to 12) for 2011-12
- A reduction of official recruiting visits by two (12 to 10) for 2011-12
- A reduction of recruiting person days by 10 (130 to 120) for 2011-12
OU has 11 scholarship players on the current roster, leaving Lon Kruger to add one latecomer instead of two, assuming he was in position to add two in the first place.
You could argue the probation is the most damaging penalty, simply from the standpoint that OU just came off probation in May of 2010 for the Rhett Bomar/Big Red infractions. It's bad PR for one thing. It's also dangerous. If OU commits more major violations over the next five years, it could fall under "repeat violator" legislation.
3. Could it have been worse?
The NCAA enforcement staff let OU off the "repeat violator" hook this time when it found no evidence of either lack of institutional control or a failure to monitor on OU's part. It pinned just about everything on former assistant Oronde Taliaferro, as well as the street agent/runner/financial adviser, and Taliaferro fell on his sword during an interview last April.
While OU lives with the possibility of manageable sanctions - depending on the infractions committee's verdict - former coach Jeff Capel is free to assist at Duke.
Taliaferro, currently out of coaching, will likely receive a "show cause" penalty in which he must receive NCAA clearance before taking his next coaching job.
Original Print Headline: OU to vacate 2009-10 wins, records
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355