Calls made to Merrill Lynch rep
NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma's athletic department has found itself in an unwanted situation that's all too familiar: shipping a basketball coach's phone records to NCAA investigators.
The university acknowledged Wednesday that it was investigating phone calls made by former basketball assistant Oronde Taliaferro to determine whether he had committed any NCAA violations. In a statement, the school indicated that Taliaferro had made calls to a Merrill Lynch representative in Florida and the content of those calls was under review.
Oklahoma claims Taliaferro did not break NCAA rules by simply making the calls. The school's investigation started after a TMZ.com report that former player Keith "Tiny" Gallon had received a wire transfer from a Merrill Lynch representative.
"We're working through the information we've gathered and look forward to bringing this matter to resolution," athletics department spokesman Kenny Mossman said. "We appreciate the relationship we have developed with the NCAA and the cooperative spirit of this review."
The Sooners remain under NCAA probation until Sunday for major violations committed under former basketball coach Kelvin Sampson and by the football program. The NCAA found that Sampson and his staff made more than 550 impermissible recruiting calls between 2000 and 2004.
If the NCAA finds that Taliaferro arranged for Gallon to receive an extra benefit, it could result in another major violation leveled against Oklahoma.
Jeffrey Hausinger, the financial representative implicated in the TMZ report, indicated in a report filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority that "the media reports (that) indicated that I gave money to Willie Warren or Keith Gallon are false." He also states that he "did not give any money to Sylvia Wright," Gallon's mother.
Taliaferro resigned in April after three seasons on coach Jeff Capel's staff, and the school said he wanted to "focus on other employment opportunities." Warren and Gallon have both entered their names in the NBA draft.
Oklahoma has denied open records requests filed by The Associated Press seeking copies of the documents provided to the NCAA, citing an exception that allows state agencies to keep litigation files and investigatory reports confidential.
The Tulsa World and The Oklahoman reported Wednesday that the school released documents showing that Taliaferro exchanged at least 41 phone calls and 25 text messages with Hausinger between May 2009 and March 2010.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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