<
>

Oklahoma to send NCAA report on violations

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A report on what the University of Oklahoma
has said were NCAA violations committed by two since-dismissed
football players will be sent to the NCAA when it is complete, OU
athletic director Joe Castiglione said Thursday.

Castiglione, speaking at a press conference in Norman, declined
to delve into specifics regarding the case of starting quarterback
Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman J.D. Quinn, who were kicked off
the Sooners' squad Wednesday. But Castiglione and football coach
Bob Stoops praised the university's compliance staff for its
diligence in uncovering the violations and said they expected the
NCAA to look into the situation as well.

"I think always there's follow-up, but I feel our compliance
staff has done that and continues to do it and never stops doing
that," Stoops said. "I believe that this (the two dismissals)
will be it, but everything is ongoing."

NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson declined to specifically
address the Oklahoma situation, which he said is standard procedure
in such cases.

But in general terms, he said anytime an NCAA member uncovers a
violation, the violation must be reported to the NCAA. After that
is done, NCAA staff decides whether or not to investigate further
and issue a notice of findings.

If the NCAA staff investigates and finds that violations have
occurred, the case would go to the NCAA's Committee on Infractions,
which would determine if the violations merited any harsher penalty
than any already self-imposed by the school.

Castiglione said "we feel like we're taking the appropriate
action" and that "to the extent that we can address everything
within our control, we're doing it ethically, decisively and as
expeditiously as possible."

Oklahoma already is on NCAA probation until May 2008 for
violations found to have occurred within its men's basketball
program, but the university escaped major sanctions in that case.
Christianson said the NCAA has a "repeat violator" bylaw.

The university has said Bomar and Quinn received extra
compensation above that to which they were entitled related to
their employment at a private business, a Norman car dealership
that has changed ownership since the players worked there.

The university said the players accepted payment over an
extended period of time in excess of time actually worked. Oklahoma
declared them ineligible for the entire current season and
permanently dismissed the two from the team.

Castiglione said the question about Oklahoma, which finished 8-4
last season, possibly forfeiting those wins has been raised, but
that he's "not sure that is applicable at this point."

In a similar situation, Texas A&M was placed on five years'
probation in January 1994 because nine players accepted pay for no
work, a penalty that kept a team with a 10-0-1 record that year out
of the Cotton Bowl, the game in which the champion of the
now-defunct Southwest Conference used to play.

Texas A&M also dismissed two of the players and declared the
others ineligible, suspended them, or both.

With about a month before the season starts in earnest, the
eligibility status of Bomar and Quinn -- who both were to be
sophomores this season -- remains in limbo.

Christianson said that if a player is declared ineligible at an
NCAA school, "that ineligibility follows them wherever they would
transfer, regardless of the (NCAA) classification" of the school
to which they transfer. For a player who is ineligible to regain
eligibility, the school to which he transfers would have to seek
reinstatement for the player, Christianson said. That process
usually takes months.

A transfer to an NAIA school might be an option. But Israel
Negron, the director of legislative services for the Olathe,
Kan.-based organization of mostly small schools, said "there would
be a whole series of questions we'd have to get answers to,"
including what penalties already have been imposed on the players,
before any determination of their eligibility to play for an NAIA
school could be made.

"We don't want to be the place you go when you have no other
choice," Negron said. "That's not what we're here for."

Because they're both sophomores, Bomar and Quinn could
conceivably spend a year at a junior college, most of which compete
under the auspices of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based National
Junior College Athletic Association. But they'd only be able to
play one year of juco football before having to transfer to a
four-year school.

It's unlikely, although not impossible, that the players would
be able to play this season.

Stoops said he'd help Bomar and Quinn look for other football
homes.

"I'm all for kids and feel in a way compassion for them,"
Stoops said. "I know they've stung us in a big way, but still it's
just my nature to be that way. I think all coaches are that way. I
would grant them a release and give them an opportunity if they
wanted to go somewhere else."