August 10, 2007
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- After consulting with a fellow Big 12 Conference school, the University of Oklahoma wants the NCAA to strike a self-reported secondary rules violation from its record.
Oklahoma originally reported that it had broken NCAA rules when it hung jerseys with three prospects' high school numbers in the Sooners' locker room when the recruits came to visit.
The university's executive director of compliance subsequently sent a letter to the NCAA asking to have that violation removed, according to documents obtained Friday through an open records request by The Associated Press.
The compliance official, Jason Leonard, wrote that Oklahoma heard from compliance staff at Missouri seeking clarification after they'd read an AP story published June 12 detailing secondary violations that had been self-reported by Oklahoma.
Leonard wrote that he was informed that Missouri -- in a similar situation -- had been told by a former NCAA official in 2005 that no secondary violation had occurred in that instance.
Citing that interpretation, Leonard wrote to NCAA associate director of secondary enforcement Renee Gomila on June 27 that "the University asserts that the display with prospects' high school numbers on them is not 'personalization' as defined" in NCAA bylaws and "requests that its reported secondary violation regarding this matter be removed from the record."
After Oklahoma initially self-reported what happened, the NCAA -- in a letter dated May 8 -- acknowledged the violation and required the Sooners' staff members involved in the display of the jerseys be given letters of admonishment. The three players all signed with other schools.
Oklahoma had also reported several other secondary violations, including providing two impermissible nutritional supplements to football players.
Oklahoma has been penalized by the NCAA for major infractions twice since April 2006.
The first penalties came after an investigation into hundreds of improper recruiting phone calls by former basketball coach Kelvin Sampson's staff.
Last month, the NCAA imposed more sanctions on the school after an investigation that began after three football players, including starting quarterback Rhett Bomar, were kicked off the team last August for being paid for work they had not performed at a Norman car dealership.
The NCAA ruled Oklahoma guilty of a "failure to monitor" in both cases. Oklahoma is appealing that ruling in the football case.
Because of the previous violations in the basketball and football program, Oklahoma is under probation until May 23, 2010. The school also must provide an annual compliance report to the NCAA.
The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions approved Oklahoma's compliance report this year, but said "particular emphasis should be placed on adherence to recruiting legislation, particularly telephone calls, contacts and evaluations and the monitoring of athletically related activities" in the school's next report, due in April, according to a letter from the committee's assistant director, also obtained Friday.
The June 11 letter from James A. Elworth, the assistant director of the NCAA's Committees on Infractions, indicated the 2008 report "must also include documentation of the university's compliance with the penalties adopted and imposed by the committee."