NCAA to announce decision on Sooners’ football infraction

Lets hope for the best

OKLAHOMA CITY — The NCAA said Wednesday morning it plans to announce its decision about possible sanctions against the Oklahoma football program, more fallout from a case that came to light last year when two players, including the Sooners’ starting quarterback, were kicked off the team.

In an e-mail sent to media outlets, the NCAA said a 2 p.m. conference call with Miami athletic director Paul Dee, the acting chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, was scheduled to discuss the case.

On Aug. 3 — the day before the Sooners began preseason practice — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops dismissed quarterback Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman J.D. Quinn from the team amid allegations that the players had been paid for work they had not performed at a Norman car dealership.

The NCAA subsequently alleged that Oklahoma had failed to adequately monitor the employment of several athletes, including some football players who worked during the academic year. The NCAA said Oklahoma’s “failure to monitor” led to the university not detecting NCAA rules violations.

The university has disputed that allegation, arguing that the NCAA should applaud, not penalize, its efforts to root out violations and noted that NCAA President Myles Brand told one news outlet that the university “acted with integrity in taking swift and decisive action” in the case.

Oklahoma has banned athletes from working at the car dealership until at least the 2008-09 academic year and has moved to prevent the athletes’ supervisor at the dealership from being involved with the university’s athletics program.

Oklahoma also will reduce the number of football coaches who are allowed to recruit off campus this fall.

Both Bomar and Quinn lost a season of eligibility. Bomar has been ordered by the NCAA to pay back more than $7,400 in extra benefits to charity, while Quinn was told to pay back more than $8,100. Both players transferred to Division I-AA schools — Bomar to Sam Houston State and Quinn to Montana — where they can resume their careers this coming season.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions met with university officials including athletic director Joe Castiglione, Stoops, compliance officials, general counsel Joseph Harroz and director of football operations Merv Johnson on April 14 in Indianapolis.

Oklahoma officials also appeared before the committee in April 2006 following an investigation into hundreds of improper recruiting phone calls by former basketball coach Kelvin Sampson’s staff.

Oklahoma escaped major sanctions in that case, as the NCAA Committee on Infractions found the university guilty of a “failure to monitor,” a less severe ruling than “lack of institutional control,” which had been recommended by the NCAA’s enforcement staff.

The committee moved Oklahoma’s self-imposed probation so it would begin in May 2006 and end in May 2008. The NCAA also issued a public reprimand and censure but otherwise accepted the university’s self-imposed sanctions, which included reductions in scholarships, recruiting calls and trips and visits to the school by prospective recruits.