STILLWATER — Dez Bryant has played his last down at Oklahoma State, his high school coach told The Oklahoman on Thursday.
"He was here this weekend," Lufkin High coach John Outlaw said. "We talked for a long time. He's going to Tampa to get himself ready for the (NFL) combine."
Outlaw's comments came hours after Oklahoma State and Bryant learned the NCAA had denied his final appeal for reinstatment. Bryant missed the Cowboys' last five games after being ruled ineligible. Bryant's eligibility came into question after the NCAA learned the All-American receiver had lied to NCAA officials about an interaction with Deion Sanders.
On Oct. 7, Bryant was ruled ineligible for violating NCAA Bylaw 10.1, shortly thereafter he applied for reinstatement. On Oct. 13, Bryant flew to Indianapolis to meet with NCAA officials and personally ask for reinstatement.
Last week, Bryant was ruled ineligible until September 2010 and OSU appealed to the NCAA's Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee. That appeal was denied on Thursday.
That decision, coupled with Bryant's likely departure to the NFL, represents the end to a superb collegiate career. He had 147 catches for 2,425 yards and 29 touchdowns during his Cowboys' career. He also added three touchdowns as a punt returner.
"We're obviously disappointed for Dez. As a team, we'll move forward from here," Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said in a statement.
Gundy had allowed Bryant to skip some team activities, including practice, because it was difficult emotionally to be around the team while ineligible. He was in Dallas for an interview last week when the NCAA's initial decision came out.
"He's been in and out and around and in touch," offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer said earlier this week. "It's just been a struggle mentally and it's just been a tough time for everybody."
"He's still working out and doing some things and somewhat on his own and somewhat with us," Brewer added.
While Bryant was away, Brewer said, he had been "really trying to get with his family and make some decisions for him for the long haul." The Cowboys lost to Texas 41-14 last Saturday to fall out of a tie for the Big 12 South lead.
"I don't think there's any doubt it's been very, very emotional thing. It's a dream of his to play in games like that against Texas. It was very hard," Brewer said. "That's been his life, playing ball, and he loves playing college football. It's been taken away and that's just something we're all dealing with."
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT