STILLWATER — While it is unclear what was said behind closed doors during Dez Bryant’s meeting with NCAA officials on Tuesday, documents shed light on the Oklahoma State receiver’s plea to be reinstated. In a letter to NCAA officials, Bryant explained why he lied about his interaction with former NFL player Deion Sanders, apologized for the lie and admitted he deserved to be punished but asked for leniency with regards to the severity of the punishment. Bryant was in Indianapolis on Tuesday with hislawyer, Willie Baker, and OSU compliance officer Scott Williams. The meeting was the next step in the appeal to have Bryant reinstated after the All-America receiver was ruled ineligible last Wednesday for a violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1. There was no immediate announcement nor is there a timeline for a decision to be made. The documents, obtained by The Oklahoman through an open records request, include OSU’s letter of reinstatement on behalf of Bryant and a letter from Bryant to NCAA officials explaining his actions. A document revealed Bryant lied to NCAA officials on three separate occasions. At a meeting on July 24, a conference call on Aug. 26 and another meeting on Sept. 16, the junior receiver denied meeting Sanders. The purpose of the inquiry was to find out Bryant’s involvement or knowledge of violations related to his relationship with Sanders. On Sept. 24, Sanders told NCAA official Marcus Wilson that he had met Bryant at Fieldhouse USA in Frisco, Texas, and that Bryant had visited his home, Wilson informed OSU of Sanders’ statement on Sept. 25, and the Cowboys held Bryant out of their Sept. 26 game against Grambling State. In its letter, the university asked for Bryant to be reinstated in part due to an extremely difficult personal life and upbringing.The portion of the letter that talked about Bryant’s upbringing was redacted by OSU officials. OSU also stated that the facts are "at best a minor secondary violation”. In Bryant’s letter, he began by apologizing and making it clear he understood the mistake he made. The junior then gave reasons why he lied and asked for another chance to play football at OSU. "I am very, very sorry I did not tell the full truth when I talked with Mr. Wilson in July," Bryant said in the letter. "There is no one else to blame, I just panicked because I was scared and afraid I was in trouble. Mr. Wilson asked about meeting Deion Sanders. I denied that I had ever met him at Fieldhouse USA. That was not the truth.” NCAA Bylaw 10.1 states that it is a violation to "knowingly provide false or misleading information concerning matters relevant to a possible violation of an NCAA regulation.” With regards to the alleged workout at Fieldhouse USA, Bryant wrote: "I did not think what I had done with Deion was a workout, I did not break a sweat when I jogged with Deion.” OSU maintains that the alleged workout should be considered a "preferential treatment case with minimal value” due to the isolated occurrence and limited time spent at Fieldhouse USA. Bryant also admitted lying about visiting Sanders’ home by writing: "I also failed to tell the truth when Mr. Wilson asked me about going to Deion’s house. I did take my girlfriend to Deion’s house one time and he and his family had dinner. I was not hungry so I did not eat, other than that I have not been back to his house.” It is not a NCAA violation for Bryant to visit Sanders’ home. Bryant finished the letter by saying: "I know that when I did not tell Mr. Wilson the truth, I made a terrible mistake. I was thinking, ‘Why would the NCAA talk to me unless they thought I had done something wrong,’ even though I did not think I had. I worried about the interview and was really nervous during the interview. "Football has been my dream for years and I kept thinking about how football was going to allow the chance to make a living and help my family. My mom, my son, brother and sister all depend on me and I felt like I had let them down.” In his final sentence, Bryant pleaded for empathy. "I am very, very sorry and take all responsibility. I know I should be punished, I deserve it, but I hope my punishment is not so bad that I do not get to play football again at OSU.” Bryant’s teammates have been unyielding in their support, and while they know he made a mistake, they are hoping for the best. "I feel confident he’ll be back,” said Cowboys running back Keith Toston. "To me, he didn’t really do anything too terrible. He should have told the truth. There’s always going to be consequences. But I feel he’ll be back.” Text "COWBOY” to 65360 for your chance to win an official OSU t-shirt and hat. OSU news text updates from NewsOK sponsored by Bone and Joint Hospital.
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