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Oklahoma State hit with 1-year postseason ban for NCAA violations uncovered in FBI investigation

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OSU will appeal the decision, which impacts coaches and players that were not involved in the violations.

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State will not make the NCAA tournament for a fourth straight season following the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions banning the Cowboys from the 2021 NCAA tournament Friday afternoon after an investigation into violations by former assistant coach Lamont Evans.

In July 2019, Evans was sentenced to three months in prison as part of a bribery trial. In January of that year, the then-41-year-old admitted to accepting $22,000 in bribes from managers and financial advisers to get star athletes from South Carolina and OSU to sign with their agencies.

The Cowboys will also face three years of probation, a $10,000 fine, a reduction of scholarships and recruiting visits. OSU will appeal the decision, which impacts players and coaches that were not involved in the violations.

“The conduct at issue in this case was related to a broader scheme that involved money and influence at the intersection of college and professional basketball,” the committee said in its decision. “The scheme resulted in the arrest and prosecution of multiple individuals — including college basketball coaches — on conspiracy and bribery charges, and it led to significant NCAA reforms.” {NCAA}

A postseason ban would be a blow for any program, but this one stings a bit more for OSU given the incoming talent from their 2020 class. The Cowboys’ top-10 class is headlined by Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 recruit in the United States, and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe, the two-time Canadian player of the year.

The Cowboys have not made the NCAA tournament since 2017 during Brad Underwood’s lone season at the helm before bolting for Illinois. Mike Boynton was elevated from assistant to head coach and guided the Cowboys to a 21-15 season and a trip to the NIT quarterfinal round, but OSU hasn’t reached the postseason since.