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Football employment scandal: OU sapped of 8 wins

By George Schroeder Modified: July 12, 2007 at 3:57 pm •  Published: July 12, 2007
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NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma plans to appeal the NCAA's decision to force the school to "vacate” — or erase — eight wins from the record book as a result of major rules violations.

The penalty was among several announced Wednesday by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in the case of former football players Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn, who were dismissed from the program last August after an investigation determined they had been paid for work they did not perform at Big Red Sports and Imports.

The NCAA also found OU guilty of "failure to monitor” the players' employment at the Norman car dealership. The school plans to appeal that finding, as well.

In its report, the NCAA called the violations "significant and serious” because of the amount of money involved, the duration of the violations and OU's appearance a year earlier for major violations in the men's basketball program.

OU officials declined interview requests Wednesday. In a statement, OU President David Boren said he was glad the NCAA's ruling "does not limit the ability of our football team to succeed in the upcoming or future seasons,” but added the school would appeal "as a matter of principle.”

The appeal could add six months to a process that began more than a year ago with an anonymous e-mail.

But OU did not appeal other sanctions.

In addition to public reprimand and censure, OU's current probation was extended by two years through May 2010.

OU will lose two football scholarships during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons — extending a penalty already self-imposed by the university. OU is subject to "re- peat violator” status if more major violations are found in the next five years. Such a finding could trigger accelerated penalties including the "death penalty” for an offending sport — although the NCAA has been hesitant to levy that punishment.

Bomar and Quinn were dismissed from the program in August. OU's subsequent report to the NCAA, obtained by The Oklahoman through open-records requests, revealed that during the 2005 football season, the players had sometimes been clocked in for work while participating in practices and other team activities.

After an investigation — with much of the legwork done by OU officials — the NCAA determined Bomar, Quinn and former walk-on receiver Jermaine Hardison had been overpaid more than $17,000.

Bomar and Quinn transferred to Sam Houston State and Montana, respectively; after they agreed to make restitution, their eligibility was reinstated for the 2007 season.

Former Big Red general manager Brad McRae and Bomar did not return phone calls Wednesday. Bomar's father, Jerry Bomar, declined comment. Quinn told The Associated Press the ruling was "dumb.”

"I have no idea,” Quinn said. "I don't care.”

OU's self-imposed penalties included:

•A reduction of two scholarships — Bomar's and Quinn's scholarships were left vacant — for 2006-07 and 2007-08.

•Limiting by one the number of football coaches allowed to recruit this fall.

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Rhett Bomar Inquiry found the ex-quarterback was paid for work not performed at a car dealership.
The penalties
•Public reprimand and censure.

•Adding two years to OU's current probation status through May 23, 2010. OU already was on probation through May 23, 2008, for violations in the men's basketball program.

•Reduction of two football scholarships through the 2009-2010 school year. OU had self-imposed the penalty through the 2007-08 school year after dismissing Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn from the program. OU is limited to 83 scholarships during the period.

•Vacation of all wins in the 2005 football season. OU finished 8-4 with a win in the Holiday Bowl. The school's official record will now reflect an 0-4 season. Coach Bob Stoops' coaching record will also reflect the 0-4 season, meaning his overall record is now 78-19 (rather than 86-19).

•Erasure of "any public reference” to the 2005 wins, including the Holiday Bowl, from OU publications, banners "and any other forum in which they may appear.”

•Vacation of individual records of Bomar and Quinn from 2005.

•Formal disassociation of former Big Red Sports and Imports general manager Brad McRae for at least five years. OU had already taken this step as part of its self-imposed penalties.

•OU must reduce the number of football coaches who can recruit off-campus by one during fall 2007. OU had already self-imposed this penalty.


The appeals process
OU plans to appeal two elements of the NCAA Committee on Infractions' finding — failure in monitoring and vacating the 2005 record. Here is a look at the appeals process, which could take as long as six months:

NCAA rules allow member institutions to appeal findings, penalties or both. The school's written notice of appeal must be received by the NCAA president within 15 calendar days from the date of the committee's report.

Once OU has been notified of the NCAA president's receipt of the notice, OU has 30 days to file the appeal. The Committee on Infractions then has 30 days to file its response, and OU has 14 days to respond. Then, the Infractions Appeals Committee considers the appeal.

Both penalties are stayed during the appeals process. The decision of the Infractions Appeals Committee is final.

Source: NCAA manual

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