Oklahoma: NCAA unfairly used basketball case to take football wins away
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The University of Oklahoma claims the NCAA infractions committee unfairly took previous violations by the men's basketball into consideration when it stripped the Sooners' football team of eight wins from the 2005 season.
In an 11-page rebuttal to the infractions committee released Friday, the university claims an NCAA subcommittee came up with new "aggravating factors" that didn't exist at the time of Oklahoma's violations and used them to erase all eight of the Sooners' wins from their Holiday Bowl season two years ago.
It was the latest development in Oklahoma's ongoing appeal to regain its 2005 victories and get a "failure to monitor" finding overturned in the case involving extra payments to former quarterback Rhett Bomar and former lineman J.D. Quinn by a Norman car dealership.
"Clearly these standards were not in effect at the time of the purported monitoring failure or the NCAA violations. At no time, even at the hearing, was the university advised of the new aggravating factors," Oklahoma wrote in the Oct. 29 rebuttal.
"This lack of notification places the university at a severe disadvantage. The factors were not mentioned in the decision itself even though it is now apparent they played a significant role in the penalty."
Oklahoma, which is on probation and has lost scholarships and recruiting time as a result of 577 excessive recruiting phone calls by former men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson and his staff, believes it is unfair the "aggravating factors" be applied after the fact.
"A prior case involving a different sport, different violations and different circumstances is not an appropriate factor for the imposition of a vacation of records penalty," Oklahoma wrote.
As in previous appellate arguments, Oklahoma again stressed innocent players shouldn't be punished because of rules violations by other individuals and that "without the university's assistance, the NCAA could not have proven any NCAA violations."
"I feel like we stated our case very well. Basically, the facts are not in dispute. I just hope they'll give very strong weight to the fact that we uncovered the evidence, we reported it right away, we didn't resist it," university president David Boren told The Associated Press in an interview Friday.
"When you compare us to some other schools like USC, where they still haven't gotten all the facts, I think that hopefully, because we took the lead, we did the right thing, we did it so quickly, I hope it will cause them [to grant the appeal]. The main issue for me was not punishing all the players that worked so hard, not punishing the innocent players."
Oklahoma also claims that the NCAA's penalties aren't consistent with cases involving other schools and the NCAA made several procedural errors in the case, including holding the university responsible for a "failure to monitor" when its arguments only claim the violations "may" have been detected by monitoring procedures.
In addition to kicking Bomar and Quinn off the team, the Sooners have accepted other penalties, including two additional years of probation and reductions in scholarships and recruiting time.
"It seems inappropriate and excessive that student-athletes' intentional actions warrant a records penalty against all other innocent student-athletes, and a head coach who took admirable actions," Oklahoma wrote in its rebuttal.
Boren said he does not know a timeframe for a ruling on the appeal, which will be handled in writing by a separate infractions committee.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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