The NCAA just put the hammer down on Oklahoma State for its repeated violations of its own drug policy.
Just kidding, at least to the first part of that sentence.
In addition to a reduction in recruiting evaluation days for football coaches and number of allowed official visits, both of which were self-imposed penalties, the NCAA put Oklahoma State on probation until April 23, 2016, levied an $8,500 fine and suspended the Orange Pride program for four years.
Orange Pride, in case you were wondering, is an all-female hosting group that “…did not follow NCAA guidelines in its recruitment of prospects.” (I’ll leave that for you to ponder.)
But with regard to the latter, the NCAA found five football players between 2008-2012 who should have been withheld from a total of seven games based on the school’s testing policy. And that’s supposedly a pretty big deal, because the NCAA’s only involvement in the drug area is a rule stating that schools must follow their own policies. Which OSU clearly didn’t.
The topper is the school’s defense here:
According to the final public report, Oklahoma State athletics director Mike Holder told the infractions committee he believed he had “latitude” to make exceptions to Oklahoma State’s policy and did so after consulting with football coach Mike Gundy on the individual cases. He admitted during the hearing he was mistaken in that view and that he should have abided by the “letter of the law.”
… (Oklahoma State president Burns) Hargis said the instances where the drug testing policy wasn’t followed were the result of Gundy “trying to do what was best for the student-athlete.”
So even with a program (allegedly) enforcing a drug policy weaker than Georgia’s, the school still felt the need on an institutional basis to ignore it whenever the head coach thought it was inconvenient and all NCAA enforcement can come up in response with is a fine and a restriction on a few official recruiting visits.
We are such chumps.