t I’m not going to comment.”
In the statement, OU officials said the NCAA rules violations occurred “over an extended period of time,” but did not specify when.
McRae, the former Big Red general manager, confirmed Bomar and Quinn had been employed at the dealership, though he said he wasn’t sure when they started. They were among as many as 20 to 25 OU football players involved in the last four years to wash and detail cars and to run errands.
“They work,” McRae said in an interview last April. “It wasn’t no great conspiracy where you come in and clock in and not work, or whatever.”
OU sources said in April and reaffirmed Wednesday that the initial investigation did not reveal NCAA rules violations. McRae, who was fired last winter for reasons he said were unrelated to the initial investigation, said Wednesday he “didn’t do anything wrong” and said he was unaware of any wrongdoing by Bomar and Quinn or any other football players.
McRae said the players did not receive cash payments for their work. He said he never saw paychecks that were inordinately large.
“They never got a big check from Big Red,” McRae said.
Although specific figures were not available, sources within and without the OU athletic department said contrary to some reports, the size of the payments was not exceptionally large.
But in a statement, Stoops decried the “intentional participation in and knowledge of the student athletes in these violations.”
Big Red Sports and Imports was sold last spring to David Hudiburg, who said Wednesday no OU athletes have been employed since then. Hudiburg and Jeff Atkins, his attorney, said he had cooperated with OU’s compliance department staff in gathering documents related to the employment of Bomar and Quinn.
“Everything they’ve asked us regarding employment with football players, we sent them everything we can,” said Atkins, who added the dealership had received several “hate calls” Wednesday after the news of the dismissals broke. “Obviously, we are trying to clarify and get out that we had nothing to do with this deal. It was the prior ownership.”
Mike Donohue, the former owner, could not be reached Wednesday for comment. No one answered at his house in Norman.
Although the NCAA rules violation were uncovered by an internal investigation, it is very likely the NCAA will conduct its own inquiry. OU’s athletic department is already on a two-year probation (through May 2008) for major rules violations committed by men’s basketball coaches
Although penalties were assessed, the school avoided the serious charge of “lack of institutional control.” But the NCAA Committee on Infractions does not take lightly further rules violations while a school is on probation.
In a statement, OU President David Boren said the school “will never compromise its high ethical standards or its integrity.” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said OU’s athletes are educated on the NCAA rules.
“In the end, individuals must decide right and wrong for themselves and then live with the consequences,” Castiglione said. “Unfortunately, many more people who themselves play by the rules are also affected by these consequences.”
“I strongly support the decision of coach Stoops,” Boren said in the statement. “Coach Stoops has done the right thing. His action reflects the basic values of our University. ... We share the sadness about this situation with our fans and players who have followed the rules, but we believe in our program and in this team, which we know will carry on in the great Sooner tradition.”