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Oklahoma St. coach unfazed by charges
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy maintains his program has been cleared of any potential wrongdoing by a Perkins, Okla., man who has already provided at least one impermissible benefit to a Cowboys football player.
Gundy spoke confidently Friday about Oklahoma State’s investigation into Gannon Mendez, who faces allegations of other violations involving OSU players such as star wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
“Our compliance handled that and they cleared us of all that,” Gundy said at Fiesta Bowl media day as he addressed FOXSports.com’s report Thursday about Mendez and the university’s subsequent investigation that revealed two violations.
The probe uncovered that Mendez bought a $5 drink at a bar for a player, and OSU self-reported itself to the NCAA. Kevin Fite, the university’s associate athletics director of compliance, declined to identify the player, citing a student privacy law.
Oklahoma State also found that two players sold Xbox 360 with Kinect video game systems — gifts from the Alamo Bowl last year — to athletic department employees who did not know such transactions violated NCAA rules. The university self-reported the video game sales and the issue has been resolved with the NCAA, Fite said.
NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson has declined comment about Oklahoma State and Mendez, citing the NCAA’s policy of not commenting on potential, pending or current investigations.
Oklahoma State compliance officials still want to talk with Mendez, who has refused to meet with the university and has declined repeated interview requests by FOXSports.com.
Mendez has said he charged $50 for every item Blackmon and two other players autographed last year at Mendez’s stepdaughter’s birthday party, according to a source who spoke with FOXSports.com only on the condition of anonymity.
According to the source, Mendez said he split with Blackmon the $300 someone paid for a piece of paper on which the player had doodled. In additiion, two sources told FOXSports.com that Mendez sold Oklahoma State football players’ guest passes and Xboxes from the Alamo Bowl.
Mendez also provided Oklahoma State football players with drinks and meals and took them golfing at The Golf Club at Cimarron Trails in Perkins, which is located behind his house, one of the sources said.
Fite said Blackmon admitted he attended Gannon’s stepdaughter’s birthday party but denied any of the alleged wrongdoing. When FOXSports.com asked Blackmon about Mendez on Thursday, he said he did not know Mendez, despite a photograph that shows him at Mendez’s stepdaughter’s birthday party.
Blackmon had a similar answer Friday when again asked about Mendez.
“I don’t know who that is,” Blackmon said. “You can talk to them about it. The compliance people.”
Said Gundy when asked by FOXSports.com what he knew about Mendez: “Don’t know him.”
Asked if Blackmon will play in the third-ranked Cowboys’ Fiesta Bowl appearance against No. 4 Stanford (11-1), Gundy looked coyly to his left and then right before answering the question.
“Yeah,” he said with a smile. “I hope.”
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