Earlier in the week, Oklahoma State announced that it won’t face Academic Progress Rate (APR) penalties after it was discovered that a football player from the 1990’s had recently graduated. The school didn’t offer many other details, other than that the team would have the full allotment of weekly practice time instead of losing one practice day per week.
Fortunately, in an awesome piece, Ben Fredrickson of The Oklahoman was able to track down the football player whose graduation helped the 2014 Cowboys. His name is Larry Mahsetky. He was a wide receiver under head coach Pat Jones at OSU from 1991-1995 but had only recently completed his degree – more than 20 years after he originally arrived in Stillwater.
The 41-year-old Mahsetky learned earlier in the week that because he finished up his final few classes needed to graduate, he gave his alma mater two more hours of practice time per week this season.
In the summer of 1996, Mahsetky said that he received a job offer that was too good to pass up. So even though he was so close to earning his degree and his mother wasn’t pleased with the decision, he accepted the offer.
“After five years of being in school and being three classes short of graduation, my mother was not happy at all,” Mahsetky said. “But I gave her my word that I would go back and finish.”
After working in Texas for 13 years, he returned to Oklahoma for another job in 2008. After a few more years passed, Mahsetky enrolled in “Native-American Studies, algebra and another history course” at Oklahoma City Community College. Those credits transferred over to OSU and he earned his degree in December 2012.
When Mahsetky arrived at Oklahoma State as a player in 1991, he was originally a walk-on. However, after playing well in the 1992 spring game, he was put on scholarship. In a cool little twist to the story, according to Fredrickson’s story, if Mahsetky had not been put on scholarship, “his academic record wouldn’t impact the athletic department’s current standing.”
The program’s APR needed a 930 score to meet the NCAA's requirements and the Cowboys’ score was 929.41. After the OSU compliance office tracked down that Mahsetky had graduated, a single point was added to pass the 930 threshold.
Per The Oklahoman:
APR guidelines award a single point if a scholarship student athlete leaves his or her institution without graduating and then comes back to earn a diploma later on. The point is applied to the school’s APR score for the term in which that person graduates, not when he or she was last a scholarship athlete, according to NCAA bylaws.
The day his diploma arrived in the mail, Mahsetky’s mother said she cried. Mahsetky knew just what to do with the diploma, too.
“I’ve got it nicely framed in my mother’s house, in her office,” he said. “I gave it to her.”
For more Oklahoma State news, visit OStateIllustrated.com.
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