The Edmond Sun

Oklahoma State House

May 14, 2014

NCAA reduces Oklahoma State football team's practice time for failing to meet academic standards

STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State University’s football team narrowly avoided a postseason bowl ban in the 2014 season, but will lose practice time each week because of poor academic performance, the NCAA announced Wednesday.

The NCAA deemed 36 Division I teams in all sports ineligible for postseason play for failing to meet multiyear Academic Progress Rate standards. Thirteen Division I teams failed to meet APR rates in 2013.

It’s the first year for tougher standards, and the jump from 13 to 36 was expected because the four-year score was raised to 930 and the two-year standard upped to 940.

Oklahoma State’s football team will lose two hours of practice time each week during the season. The NCAA allows teams to practice 20 hours a week during the season, and normally reduces practice time by four hours weekly for failing to meet APR standards.

The NCAA reduced OSU’s penalty two hours because the Cowboy football team has shown academic improvement in the past two seasons, OSU Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Kevin Fite said.

The OSU football team recorded APR scores of 916 in 2009-10, 915 in 2010-11; 953 in 2011-12 and 934 in 2012-13.

The football team posted an average score of 929.41 over the past four years and a 943.54 in the past two years. Teams must earn a 940 two-year average or a 930 four-year average to participate in the postseason.

The football team’s two-year average kept it eligible for postseason play, but its four-year average forced the NCAA to restrict practice time.

“We have shown significant improvement over the last two years,” Fite said, “and we were able to demonstrate that we’ve taken strategies to address the areas where we were losing points,” he said.

Oklahoma State University Athletic Director Mike Holder said the athletic department is taking steps to ensure the football team’s Academic Progress Rates continue to improve.

“We are accountable for what we do and ultimately, we are here to serve our student-athletes and do our best to keep them on track to be lifelong contributors to society,” Holder said.

The university’s other eight men’s sports and eight women’s sports easily exceed the 930 and 940 APR standards.

Oklahoma State University continues to wait for a report from a former NCAA enforcement director for the NCAA, Charles E. Smrt, concerning allegations raised in a five-part Sports Illustrated investigation into the Cowboy football team during its rise to prominence from 2001 to 2011 under former coach Les Miles and assistant coach Mike Gundy. Gundy took control of the program when Miles left OSU for Louisiana State University in 2005.

Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis and Oklahoma State University Board of Regents Chairman Tucker Link announced OSU had hired Smrt to investigate the SI allegations in September.

The Sports Illustrated series focused on payments to players, drug use, drug dealing, grade falsification, using sex to entice recruits to sign letters of intent and the number of football players who left school before completing their eligibility.

 

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