The NCAA has brought the hammer down on Oklahoma State.
On Friday, the NCAA announced that it was handing down a postseason ban, among other punishments, to the men’s basketball team for the 2020-21 season. It’s because a former Oklahoma State basketball associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he “accepted between $18,150 and $22,000 in bribes from two financial advisors to influence student-athletes.”
The coach, who wasn’t named in the report, is Lamont Evans.
“The conduct at issue in this case was related to a broader scheme that involved money and influence at the intersection of college and professional basketball,” the committee said in its decision. “The scheme resulted in the arrest and prosecution of multiple individuals — including college basketball coaches — on conspiracy and bribery charges, and it led to significant NCAA reforms.”
This case originated 2017 when FBI agents arrested Evans in connection with the college basketball corruption investigation.
This is a major loss for the Cowboys, who are bringing in No. 1 overall recruit Cade Cunningham next season and could have been a preseason top 25 team.
The Kentucky Wildcats finished second in the race for Cunningham, who’s going to Oklahoma State mainly because his brother is an assistant there. So even with the postseason ban, Cunningham may opt to stick with the Cowboys and his brother for one season before likely being a top-five pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
There’s also now the potential for Cunningham to skip school altogether and play pro ball somewhere for a year before heading to the draft.
And of course, Oklahoma State will fight this and try to get the ruling reversed before next season begins, but NCAA rulings this harsh are very rarely reversed.