Oklahoma State was fined $10,000 and its men’s basketball team was banned from the upcoming postseason Friday after the NCAA found that former assistant coach Lamont Evans accepted up to $22,000 in bribes intended to help steer athletes to certain financial advisers.
The NCAA ruling included three years of probation, the fine self-imposed by the school along with an additional 1% from the program budget, recruiting restrictions and a reduction in basketball scholarships.
“In short, the former coach in this case put his interests ahead of the student-athletes,” said Larry Parkinson, the chief hearing officer for the infractions panel that handled the case.
Oklahoma State vowed to appeal the ruling, saying it was “stunned by the severity of the penalties and strongly disagrees with them.” The Cowboys have put together one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for the upcoming season, headlined by one-and-done prospect Cade Cunningham.
“The NCAA agreed with OSU that Lamont Evans acted alone and for his own personal gain,” the school said. “The NCAA appears to have made an arbitrary decision in the sanctions applied to the institution for the egregious actions committed by a former coach that did not result in any benefit for the university.”
Evans received a 10-year show-cause order in the case tied to the federal corruption investigation into college basketball, which became public in fall 2017. While Oklahoma State received a notice of allegations last year, South Carolina said in February that it had received one tied to Evans, who spent four seasons under Frank Martin before joining the Cowboys’ staff in 2016.
Evans was among 10 people originally indicted by federal prosecutors, including four assistant coaches. Evans was later sentenced to three months in prison for accepting bribes in the criminal case.
The NCAA ruling states Evans “used his role ... to sway student-athletes’ important career choices and steer them toward the advsiors’ services.”
According to the NCAA, Evans received between approximately $18,150 to $22,000 from April 2016 through July 2017 for his influence and agreement to arrange two meetings for the advisers to gain access to players or a family member. One was for an Oklahoma State player who was unaware of any arrangement by Evans, while the other was for the mother of a player he had coached at his previous job, the NCAA said.
The report also states Evans failed to cooperate with the investigation after being fired by Oklahoma State in September 2017, though Parkinson said the school “fully cooperated” in the probe.