NORMAN — Former Oklahoma assistant basketball coach Oronde Taliaferro exchanged at least 41 phone calls and 25 text messages over a ten-month period with a Tampa financial adviser who reportedly wired $3,000 into the bank account of former OU forward Tiny Gallon.
The exchanges between Taliaferro, who abruptly resigned last month, and financial adviser Jeffrey Hausinger took place from May 2009 to March 2010. The Oklahoman and Tulsa World discovered the correspondence during a review of Taliaferro’s phone records, as requested by both newspapers under the Oklahoma Open Records Act. After attempting first to shield Taliaferro’s phone records, OU complied with the records requests this week, then issued a statement Wednesday confirming calls were made from Taliaferro’s phone to Hausinger and that the exchanges are part of an ongoing, joint investigation by OU and the NCAA. Calls made between Taliaferro and Hausinger don’t necessarily constitute NCAA violations. Hausinger currently is contesting what he calls a forced resignation from Merrill Lynch and denies wiring money to Gallon, according to a document found on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s web site. However, if it’s discovered that Taliaferro and Hausinger did conspire to provide Gallon with "extra benefits,” the OU men’s basketball program could be found guilty of major infractions. NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn refrained from commenting on any specific investigation when contacted Wednesday, though she did say: "The (infractions) committee looks at the overall violations of a case. How significant and how rampant were they? Did the university know of the violations or should they have known? But really, if it’s early in the process of any investigation, it’s difficult to speculate on penalties because of so many factors. That’s what the hearing process is for.” The Sooner athletic department is still on probation for previous violations in both the football and men’s basketball programs. That probation expires after Sunday. Records indicate calls and text messages were exchanged from Taliaferro’s cell phone and Hausinger’s office and cell phones beginning on May 12, 2009, and continued periodically through March 9, 2010. The phone calls increased in July 2009, immediately following the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio. Ex-OU guard Willie Warren attended James’ camp, while records show Taliaferro made various calls from his cell phone while in Cleveland, which is about 35 miles from Akron. Among those was a 5-minute call made to Hausinger on July 8. The same day, a tweet from a Twitter page attributed to Hausinger was directed to Warren, which read: "follow me so we can talk.