Florida State responds
Friday evening, Florida State University officials responded to The Oklahoman’s report that, according to court documents found in Mike Balogun’s lawsuit against the NCAA, FSU was responsible for notifying Big 12 and OU officials about Balogun’s semi-pro past.
Here’s what the statement said:
In response to erroneous media reports, Florida State University athletics would like to clarify its conversation with Oklahoma University as it pertains to the eligibility of Sooners linebacker Mike Balogun.
Florida State’s compliance office did contact the Oklahoma University compliance office after learning that Balogun had played in a semi-pro football league while watching the Jan. 9, 2009 television broadcast of the Bowl Championship Series national championship game.
“The purpose of the inquiry to Oklahoma University was to gather information regarding a similar eligibility case involving former Florida State wide receiver Corey Surrency,” said Brian Battle, FSU Associate Athletic Director for Compliance. “Florida State’s compliance office did not contact the Big 12 or the NCAA.”
Surrency, who also played in a semi-pro football league beyond his 21st birthday, was denied a second year of eligibility by the NCAA following the school’s appeal on April 28, 2009.
“There was no ill intention on our part,” Battle said. “It was merely a fact-finding phone call, made only to the Oklahoma University compliance office. This is a very common practice amongst compliance offices with this type of complex situation.”
That statement, however, doesn’t match up with a letter (and other documentation found in Balogun’s lawsuit) written to the NCAA by Oklahoma’s compliance department, which, among other documentation, was part of the basis of The Oklahoman reporting that court documents alleged Florida State had contact with the Big 12 regarding Balogun.
TO: NCAA Amateurism Department, Stephen Webb
FROM: Athletics Compliance Department— University of Oklahoma
DATE: March 6, 2009
SUBJECT: Ademola “Mike” Balogun
As you are aware, the University. of Oklahoma (“University”) football team played In the BCS National Championship on January 8, 2009. During the broadcast of said game, the announcers made the comment that Ademola “Mike” Balogun, the University’s starting linebacker, played semi-pro football prior to his enrollment in junior college and prior to Mike’s enrollment at the University. The following day. January 9, 2009, the University of Oklahoma Athletic Compliance Department (“Department”) received an e-mail from a member of the Big 12 Conference staff requesting information regarding Mike’s season of competition as well as his competitive history (See Exhibit 1). The Department responded with a detailed analysis outlining its knowledge (and previous investigation) of Mike’s participation in the National American Football League (“NAFL”), the NCM’s inquiry into the same and the resulting classification by the NCAA of Mike as a junior with one year of eligibility remaining (See Exhibit 2). In response to the information provided, the Big 12 was satisfied with the University’s Investigation into this matter (See Exhibit 3).
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