As a result of the FBI’s two-year investigation into college basketball, Oklahoma State has received a notice of allegation from the NCAA for a potential Level I violation, an expected development announced by the university Friday afternoon.
A former staff member — associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Lamont Evans — is accused of knowingly soliciting and receiving benefits to arrange meetings between players and financial advisers in April 2016-September 2017, according to the notice from the NCAA that was voluntarily disclosed by the university.
Evans, who was originally hired by former head coach Brad Underwood and retained by current coach Mike Boynton, was fired in 2017 after federal charges were announced, stemming from an undercover sting that involved three other college basketball assistant coaches. Evans ultimately was sentenced to three months in prison for bribery.
The NCAA’s allegation involves only Evans, who also was accused of giving a player $300. The player reported it to OSU and the university self-reported to the NCAA in October 2017. The player’s eligibility was restored and he did not compete while ineligible, according to OSU.
“While OSU is very disappointed that this occurred, we were relieved to learn that there were no recruiting or other major violations on the part of the institution,” the university said in a statement. “There are no allegations involving current student-athletes or coaching staff.
“ … The university feels strongly that the bribes were taken for the sole benefit of Mr. Evans, who was terminated within days of the announcement of the charges. The university did not benefit in any way and was considered by the federal government to be the victim of the scheme.”
OSU does not dispute the findings but plans to appear in front of the NCAA Committee on Infractions to try to get the violation reduced, and that hearing is likely to occur in the spring. Level I violations can be punished by postseason bans, scholarship reductions and show-cause orders against those involved.
“We have been open and transparent with our team, our recruits and the NCAA,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said in a statement. “We’re disappointed this occurred but are pleased that a thorough investigation has determined the most serious violation was reported in the news more than two years ago. We look forward to presenting our case on the level of violation to the NCAA.”
In the notice, the NCAA said Evans received at least $18,150 in bribes from financial advisers Marty Blazer and Munish Sood in exchange for setting up meetings with at least two players, including one from a previous coaching stop (South Carolina) in an attempt to influence the players to retain their services.
As noted by the NCAA, the meeting could have resulted in a loss of eligibility for the player. The same player received $300 from Evans, had to go through the reinstatement process to become eligible after the payment and then had to hire an attorney to be questioned by the FBI.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Boynton said in January after Evans pleaded guilty. “Still believe in my core that Lamont’s a good person and caught up in a tough situation. I still continue to pray for him and his family.”