Oklahoma State hit with Level I violation amid massive college basketball scandal

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor
The NCAA hit Oklahoma State with an official notice of allegations on Friday, stemming from former assistant Lamont Evans’ arrest in 2017. (AP/Kevin Hagen)
The NCAA hit Oklahoma State with an official notice of allegations on Friday, stemming from former assistant Lamont Evans’ arrest in 2017. (AP/Kevin Hagen)

Oklahoma State received an official notice of allegations from the NCAA on Friday, stemming from former associate head coach Lamont Evans’ ties to the massive FBI investigation into corruption within college basketball, according to TulsaWorld.com.

The notice included a Level I violation, alleging that Evans “violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when he knowingly solicited and received benefits for facilitating or arranging a meeting between student-athletes and financial advisors” from April 2016 to September 2017, according to ESPN. 

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Evans admitted in January to accepting $22,000 in bribes to send players to South Carolina and Oklahoma State. He was sentenced to three months in prison in June, just one day after former Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson received the same sentence for accepting $20,000 in bribes. Former USC assistant Tony Bland and former Auburn assistant Chuck Person were also arrested in the scandal. 

“We have been open and transparent with our team, our recruits and the NCAA,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said in a statement, via TulsaWorld.com. “We’re disappointed this occurred but are pleased that a thorough investigation has determined the most serious violation was reported in the news more than two years ago. We look forward to presenting our case on the level of violation to the NCAA.”

Evans — who was an assistant for the Gamecocks before accepting the Oklahoma State job in 2016 — was fired in September 2017, just two days after his arrest. 

Level I violations are the most severe form of violations handed down from the NCAA, and can result in postseason bans, loss of scholarships and more. Oklahoma State said it plans to meet with the NCAA’s infractions committee to plead its case before any official punishment is handed down.

“Following the NCAA’s thorough investigation with OSU’s full cooperation and participation, the University agrees that Mr. Evans did in fact accept bribes for the purpose of steering players to financial advisors in violation of NCAA bylaws,” Oklahoma State said in a statement, in part, via TulsaWorld.com. “While OSU is very disappointed that this occurred, we were relieved to learn that there were no recruiting or other major violations on the part of the institution. There are no allegations involving current student-athletes or coaching staff. 

“In addition to the primary finding is the finding that one then-member of the basketball team received $300 from Mr. Evans. This information was reported to OSU by the student-athlete and then self-reported to the NCAA by OSU in October 2017. The student-athlete’s eligibility was restored, and he never competed while ineligible … The University feels strongly that the bribes were taken for the sole benefit of Mr. Evans, who was terminated within days of the announcement of the charges. The University did not benefit in any way, and was considered by the Federal government to be the victim of the scheme.” 

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