STILLWATER — Mike Gundy owes someone from his athletic department a thank you card. A big hug. Maybe a raise.
It’s unknown exactly how the Oklahoma State football coach plans to reward one staffer’s discovery that led to an otherwise unexpected NCAA announcement Tuesday. What’s easy to guess was Gundy’s reaction to the news — a sigh of relief.
An NCAA-issued penalty against the OSU football program that would have removed two hours of practice time each week this season has been lifted, a team spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
The punishment was handed out in May as a response to the team failing to meet Academic Progress Rate standards over the past four years. The Cowboys scored 929.41 in that span, just shy of the minimum 930.
However, the penalty was lifted Tuesday after the OSU athletic department announced an error had been made in its initial academic reports sent to the NCAA back in October.
About a month ago, an athletic department staff member identified a 1990s-era football player who had recently graduated from the university who was not included in department’s original academic report. Because that player — who has yet to be identified by the athletic department — graduated within the past four years, it added a point to OSU’s APR score to meet the NCAA’s minimum requirement.
Kevin Fite, senior associate athletic director for compliance, said a “records-keeping issue” prevented the department from including the graduated player in its previous report to the NCAA.
“Our institutional system doesn’t flag former student athletes from certain points back, I think it’s 1999,” Fite said. “We don’t have available to us complete records prior to that … A staff member, who has been here a long time, saw a graduation roll and said, ‘Hey, that guy’s a football player.’ We were able to go to our bursar’s office and determined he was on aid. And we basically catch an extra point.”
The APR is a sport-based metric based on two factors for each scholarship athlete per term: eligibility (1 point) and retention (1 point). Athletes can earn as many four points for their program in any given year, according to the NCAA.
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