By George Schroeder Published: August 23, 2006
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NORMAN - The allegations dropped into University of Oklahoma President David Boren's electronic inbox at 8:13 p.m. last March 3.

With a heading of "NCAA Violation at OU," the e-mail said three OU football players "were paid by Big Red Sports and Imports for their services, however they did not have to do a minutes (sic) work... All of this was done as a favor to the OU football team."

The message, which helped prompt an internal investigation that eventually led to the dismissals of quarterback Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman J.D. Quinn earlier this month, was obtained Tuesday by The Oklahoman after an open-records request.

Included in 528 pages of documents were OU's preliminary report to the NCAA, dated Monday, and interviews conducted by OU's compliance department with football coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Brent Venables and director of football operations Merv Johnson, plus three football players.

Also included were dozens of time sheets, pay stubs and other employment records related to players' employment at Big Red over a period spanning almost two years.

The players' names and other identifiable information were blacked out by OU, which cited federal privacy legislation, but it was apparent Bomar was one of those interviewed.

Violations acknowledged
In the report, OU acknowledged NCAA rule violations by two players "when they received pay for work they did not perform ..." and said the players were aware they were breaking the rules.

The report also noted the investigation had "not revealed any other violations" committed by football players who were employed by Big Red.

However, one section of the report, while heavily redacted, was titled: "Unable to Conclude a Violation Has Occurred," and cited "insufficient evidence" in the case of an unknown athlete who "earned a significant amount of money from January (redacted) through February (redacted)," but who "could have legitimately worked the hours for which he received payment."

Also blacked out was the portion detailing how much Bomar and Quinn were overpaid. Bomar did not return a phone call Tuesday. His father, Jerry Bomar, said Tuesday the overpayment was "between $5,000-7,000."

Brad McRae, Big Red's former general manager, was named in the report as having known of the violations. McRae declined comment Tuesday.

"I've got nothing to say," he said.

An OU spokesman said school officials would not comment on the report. But in interviews conducted Aug. 3 by OU Associate Athletic Director Keith Gill, who oversees the compliance department, Stoops, Venables and Johnson denied knowledge of any improprieties involving football players' employment at Big Red Sports and Imports.

Asked whether he or "anyone else at the University of Oklahoma, to your knowledge, (knew) that student-athletes were working and getting paid for work not performed," Stoops replied: "Absolutely not."

Stoops also said he had not heard rumors about other NCAA rules violations related to Big Red. In other portions of the documents, it is clear OU's compliance staff investigated whether players were paid to attend functions involving McRae's children and whether they were paid to sign autographs.


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Excerpt of OU investigation document

Letter from OU regarding investigation

Opinion letter supporting OU's decision

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Fallout from NCAA report

Secondary violations
Documentation obtained in an open-records request showed that Oklahoma self-reported several NCAA Level II secondary violations to the Big 12 Conference that occurred during the time period of Feb. 1 through April 30, 2006.

Level II violations are defined by the NCAA as "inadvertent, isolated violations." Level II violations are considered minor and are fairly routine. Many are regularly reported by schools. OU has already taken corrective action on the listed violations.

Football: Violations included an unarranged, inadvertent impermissible on-campus contact with a recruit by a member of the football staff; an impermissible off-campus contact with a prospective student athlete by a graduate assistant; a recruit engaged in two telephone conversations with a former player; several players wore soft, foam padding during a noncontact practice; during an official visit, a recruit briefly tried out exercise equipment (this was deemed an impermissible tryout).

Men's basketball: Coach Jeff Capel allowed his wife to accompany him on an in-home visit to Scottie Reynolds, a recruit who had signed a letter of intent with OU. Capel's wife picked him up at the airport and drove him to the recruit's home. The coach had the wife accompany him into the house rather than stay in the vehicle. Action taken was rules education for the head coach and his staff.

Women's basketball: Due to misplaced paperwork, two male student practice players had not been certified. Action taken was the institution of a "male practice player e-mail request process/roster" to ensure proper paperwork has been completed. Also, rules education was provided to all staff members.

Baseball: An assistant coach had inadvertent, improper off-campus contact with a prospective student athlete. A letter of admonishment was issued to the assistant, who also underwent a rules refresher. Also, an OU player received a voucher to purchase a $34 mathematical device from a university bookstore while not on a book scholarship. The player and OU's director of academic services were given rules education. The player repaid $34 to charity.

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