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NCAA upholds postseason ban, Oklahoma State angry

Sportsnaut
Mar 21, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Boynton reacts from the sidelines during the second half in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament against the Oregon State Beavers at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Boynton reacts from the sidelines during the second half in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament against the Oregon State Beavers at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State is out for the 2022 postseason among other penalties following the denial of the Cowboys’ appeal by the NCAA.

The punishment stems from the Lamont Evans case in which the Oklahoma State assistant coach accepted up to $22,000 in bribes intended to help steer athletes to certain financial advisers.

The NCAA said Wednesday in a statement it “confirmed the level of the violation that occurred.”

One of four assistant coaches cited in a federal investigation in 2017, Evans plead guilty in 2019 to bribery in federal court.

Current Illinois coach Brad Underwood hired Evans, then left OSU after one season and current coach Mike Boynton was promoted to head coach.

Handed a one-year postseason ban in June 2020, Oklahoma State filed an appeal and played in the Big 12 conference tournament and NCAA Tournament in top recruit Cade Cunningham’s only season in Stillwater. Cunningham entered the NBA draft and was the No. 1 pick by the Detroit Pistons.

At a campus press conference Wednesday, Oklahoma State athletic director Chad Weiberg stopped short of saying he regretting cooperating fully with the NCAA investigation, but said if the university is ever in the same situation, “We will do things different.”

Weiberg said he was hopeful and optimistic the appeal heard by the NCAA on Feb. 7 would go the Cowboys’ way. The NCAA ruled the school’s probation period began Tuesday (Nov. 2).

“We are profoundly disappointed for our student-athletes, none whom were here at the time of this case,” Weiberg said.

Weiberg said he discussed exploring the possibility of playing in the Big 12 tournament at the end of the season but didn’t want to give the team’s current seniors any false hope by disclosing details of the conversation.

Boynton said several players broke down in tears when he informed the team — while on the road recruiting — of the NCAA ruling.

The current OSU freshman class was in seventh grade when the NCAA cited violation occurred.

Boynton himself began crying and was full of emotion when he questioned the basis for the NCAA ban on Wednesday.

“I’m disappointed, disgusted, appalled, frustrated — but somewhere in Indianapolis is a group of people celebrating,” he said. “They won.”

Boynton said he’s hurt for the players who can no longer achieve some of the goals they’ve discussed. He is attempting to mentally reset first.

“It was a single NCAA violation. One player received $300,” Boynton said. “It’s no wonder nobody trusts them (NCAA).

“If there was some consistency, you could justify it. Cases that have similar circumstances, the consequences are completely different. It’s utterly ridiculous. … It’s hard to make it make sense at all.”

–Field Level Media