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NCAA: Oklahoma must vacate 2005 season; Sooners to appeal

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma must erase its wins from the 2005 season and will lose two scholarships for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, the NCAA said Wednesday.

The penalties stem from a case involving two players, including the Sooners' starting quarterback, who were kicked off the team last August for being paid for work they had not performed at a Norman car dealership. The NCAA said Oklahoma was guilty of a "failure to monitor" the employment of the players.

Oklahoma President David Boren said the university will appeal the NCAA's "failure to monitor" finding and the ruling that Oklahoma must erase the wins from the 2005 season. Oklahoma has 15 days to notify the NCAA in writing of any such appeal.

The Sooners went 8-4 and beat Oregon in the Holiday Bowl to end the 2005 season. Records from that season involving quarterback Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman J.D. Quinn must be erased, the NCAA said, and coach Bob Stoops' career record will be amended to reflect the erased wins, dropping it from 86-19 in eight seasons to 78-19.

Oklahoma also will have two years of probation added to an earlier penalty, extending the Sooners' probation to May 23, 2010.

Those sanctions are in addition to those already self-imposed by Oklahoma, which has banned athletes from working at the car dealership until at least the 2008-09 academic year and moved to prevent the athletes' supervisor at the dealership, Brad McRae, from being involved with the university's athletics program until at least August 2011.

Oklahoma also will reduce the number of football coaches who are allowed to recruit off campus this fall. The Sooners also dismissed Bomar, Quinn and walk-on Jermaine Hardison from the team.

Paul Dee, the athletic director at Miami and the interim chairman of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions, said Oklahoma will be allowed to keep the money it received for playing in the 2005 Holiday Bowl, because the NCAA does not regulate bowl games.

"Although this case centered on a few violations involving three student-athletes, the committee finds this case to be significant and serious for several reasons," the NCAA report said, noting the length of time of the violations and the fact that Oklahoma had appeared before the committee in April 2006 regarding violations in its men's basketball program.

On Aug. 3 -- the day before the Sooners began preseason practice -- Stoops dismissed Bomar and Quinn from the team after the university determined they had been paid for work not performed at Big Red Sports and Imports.

That led to an NCAA investigation, which found that Bomar, Quinn and Hardison had been paid for time they did not work at the car dealership and that Hardison received payment for time he spent participating in a scrimmage and spring game.

The players and McRae engaged "in a deliberate scheme to deceive both the employer's payroll system and the university's employment monitoring system in an attempt to violate NCAA rules of which they were real aware," the report stated.

The committee found that Oklahoma "demonstrated a failure to monitor" the employment of several athletes, including some football players who worked during the academic year. The NCAA said that failure led to the university not detecting NCAA rules violations.

During the investigation, the university disputed that allegation, arguing that the NCAA should applaud, not penalize, its efforts to root out violations and noted that NCAA president Myles Brand told one news outlet that the university "acted with integrity in taking swift and decisive action" in the case.

Dee said Wednesday that Oklahoma should be praised for quickly dismissing the players from the team, calling that action "very influential on the committee."

Still, the committee said that Oklahoma should have undertaken more extensive efforts to monitor the players' employment, because the dealership apparently was the largest employer of Oklahoma athletes.

Boren disagreed, saying in a statement that "any mistakes made by the athletic department compliance staff while monitoring would not have prevented the intentional wrongdoing by the student athletes and the employer involved."

Stoops said he "strongly supported" Boren's decision to appeal.

"Our current team is focused on the upcoming season," Stoops said. "The university is dealing with a matter that relates to the 2005 season. This group of players and those that will join our program later have no reason to be concerned about our goals or the direction of our program. Those things remain unchanged."

Both Bomar and Quinn lost a season of eligibility. Bomar has been ordered by the NCAA to pay back more than $7,400 in extra benefits to charity, while Quinn was told to pay back more than $8,100. Both players transferred to Division I-AA schools -- Bomar to Sam Houston State and Quinn to Montana -- where they can resume their careers this season.

Through Sam Houston State athletic department spokesman Paul Ridings, Bomar declined comment Wednesday.

Oklahoma officials also appeared before the Committee on Infractions in April 2006 following an investigation into hundreds of improper recruiting phone calls by former basketball coach Kelvin Sampson's staff.

Oklahoma escaped major sanctions in that case, as the infractions committee also found the university guilty of a "failure to monitor," a less severe ruling than "lack of institutional control," which had been recommended by the NCAA's enforcement staff.

The committee mostly accepted the university's self-imposed sanctions, which included reductions in scholarships, recruiting calls and trips and visits to the school by prospective recruits.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press


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