Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Central Oklahoma put on Probation for Football Violations

The NCAA has placed the University of Central Oklahoma on three years probation, in addition to imposing scholarship reductions, telecast bans, and a two year show-cause hiring penalty on the ex head coach, Chuck Langston:

INDIANAPOLIS---The NCAA Division II Committee on Infractions has penalized the University of Central Oklahoma for a number of major and secondary violations in the football program. This case involved failure to monitor and unethical conduct violations against the former head coach, as well as a lack of institutional control for the university.

Penalties for the violations include placing the college on three years of probation; a reduction in available scholarships; and ineligibility for telecast opportunities during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years. In addition, the former head coach was given a two-year show-cause penalty. . . .

The violations involved six two-year prospective student-athletes recruited to the university by the football coaching staff from spring 2003 to spring 2005. These prospective student-athletes transferred from the two-year college where the former head coach previously was employed prior to coming to Central Oklahoma. These young men were part of a large group of 40 two-year college prospective student-athletes recruited by the university during the former head coach's tenure.

Some of the young men arrived in the area without visible means of support and before they were qualified for admission and athletics competition or aid. Once they were in the vicinity of the campus, but before they were enrolled full-time at the university, the young men were provided impermissible benefits including medical treatments, the use of institutional facilities, as well as free housing, meals and transportation. The benefits were provided by members of the athletics staff, including coaches and enrolled student-athletes. The university paid the costs of surgery for one prospective student-athlete prior to his enrollment in the total amount of $4,772, and on one occasion an assistant coach supplied one of the young men with a $200 cash payment.

The former head coach, who either knew or should have known of the impermissible benefits, failed to meet his responsibility to monitor the football program. Further, once an investigation into the violations began, the former head coach instructed one of the prospective student-athletes to provide false information to the investigators. The committee found this action constituted unethical conduct.

The committee also found that these violations were compounded by the university's lack of institutional control over its athletics program. It noted in its report that the scope and nature of the violations demonstrate that the university failed to exercise institutional control and monitoring in the conduct and administration of its athletics program from January 2003 through August 2006.

The report notes that the football coaching staff was able to take advantage of the university's compliance shortcomings and facilitate the impermissible activities until August 2006, when information received in the conference office prompted an investigation. . . .

The full report can be found here.

The story began in August, when Central Oklahoma was notified of violations, and responded by suspending Langston for a grand total of two weeks, in addition to imposing a one-year recruiting ban. Langston ended up coaching out the rest of the season, but was fired on November 14. The statement made by President W. Roger Webb at that time made no mention of the looming NCAA sanctions, but did, of course, mention how much he had enjoyed his relationship with Langston.

Central Oklahoma has not yet responded to a request for comment on the sanctions.

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