Coach supports suspended WR Bryant
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Monday the school is backing the reinstatement of star receiver Dez Bryant, less than a week after declaring him ineligible for lying to the NCAA.
The school put the All-American on the sidelines last Wednesday for lying to the NCAA about his relationship with former NFL star Deion Sanders. Bryant sat out Saturday as No. 16 Oklahoma State won 36-31 at Texas A&M.
The Cowboys (4-1, 1-0 Big 12) will host conference rival Missouri (4-1, 0-1) this Saturday.
Bryant played in Oklahoma State's first three games this season while compliance officials were investigating his meeting with Sanders and another former NFL player, Omar Stoutmire, that Bryant later lied about to the NCAA.
Sanders said Sunday on the NFL Network that his longtime agent, Eugene Parker, was not present for his meeting with Bryant. Sanders also said he didn't give Bryant any gifts and portrayed his relationship with Bryant as one of mentoring.
Bryant, his attorney and Oklahoma State compliance director Scott Williams are expected to meet Tuesday with NCAA officials in Indianapolis, but it's unclear when the situation might be resolved.
"We have started the reinstatement process, which means we're in support of him 100 percent," Gundy said. "He made a mistake. He was untruthful and he's admitted that. How long it's going to take, I don't know. Whether they're going to reinstate him or not, I don't know."
Gundy said "there's nothing out there that we were not aware of from day one" regarding Bryant's relationship with Sanders but he wouldn't elaborate. An Oklahoma State spokesman said the university was planning to release a copy of the letter it sent to the NCAA asking that Bryant be reinstated.
Gundy said that instead of having Bryant practice with the Cowboys, coaches want him to focus on the situation.
"Not that he's a distraction," Gundy said. "The players understand what's going on, but it's just not the time and the place right now until somebody says 'OK, here's what direction we're going.' When that's going to happen, I'm not sure."
Bryant has not been available for comment since being ruled ineligible, though he said in a statement last week that he made a mistake "by not being entirely truthful when meeting with the NCAA."
Oklahoma State players asked about Bryant remained tightlipped Monday, saying only that the receiver is doing well considering the circumstances. Gundy said he's been pleased with how the Cowboys handled the news.
Gundy said coaches simply told the players the truth about Bryant's situation.
"I think they said, 'I can see that. Dez is a knucklehead. I can see him ... getting scared and not being truthful,'" the coach said. "And he now has to pay the consequences."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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