Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter believes the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team was punished too severely for its involvement in a federal basketball scandal. Hunter sent a strongly worded letter to the NCAA on Friday, criticizing the organization for coming down too hard on the program.
Hunter, 63, said the NCAA’s ruling is “unjustifiable, illogical and needs to be reassessed.” Hunter argued the school didn’t deserve such a harsh punishment for the actions of one rogue employee.
Oklahoma State’s involvement in an infractions scandal was considered relatively minor compared to many of the other schools involved. Because of that, it came as a major surprise when the NCAA came down hard on the university. The Oklahoma State’s men’s basketball team received a year-long postseason ban, was docked three scholarships and faces three years of probation. Schools more prominently involved in the scandal are expected to receive even harsher penalties.
Oklahoma State’s infractions were linked to former associate head coach Lamont Evans, who was arrested for taking bribes to send players from South Carolina and Oklahoma State to a financial adviser. Evans pleaded guilty to taking bribes and was sentenced to three months in prison last June.
Hunter argued Oklahoma State should not be blamed for Evans’ actions, especially after the NCAA found the university didn’t know what Evans was doing. Hunter, an Oklahoma State alum, said the NCAA should not harshly penalize universities that fully cooperate with investigations, as it could discourage schools from doing the same in the future.
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