Oklahoma letter signals end of NCAA probation
University President David Boren sent a letter to the NCAA stating that Oklahoma's athletic department conforms to the association's rules, despite an investigation into potential violations by the men's basketball program.
Boren sent the letter to the NCAA's James Elworth last week as Oklahoma's probation for major rules violations by the football and men's basketball programs was set to expire. It was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday through an open records request.
Boren stated that Oklahoma's "athletic policies and practices conform to all the requirements of NCAA regulations as required at the conclusion of our probationary period.''
Oklahoma's probation was due to end May 23, but the university and NCAA are investigating whether the basketball team broke any rules before then.
The letter was required to complete the series of penalties levied against Oklahoma for its previous violations and copies the terminology set out by the NCAA.
Oklahoma has disclosed that it shared phone records with the NCAA showing that former assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro made contact with Jeffrey Hausinger, a Tampa, Fla.-based financial representative who reportedly wired $3,000 to former Sooners center Keith ``Tiny'' Gallon and his mother.
Gallon told an online blog last week after a pre-draft workout with the New York Knicks that Hausinger gave his family the money so he could get his transcript from Oak Hill Academy and be cleared to play with the Sooners. The NCAA issued a statement indicating Gallon had not complied with its requests for cooperation by providing documents associated with the investigation.
Taliaferro's phone logs show he exchanged at least 46 calls and 31 text messages with numbers associated with Hausinger and his former employer, Merrill Lynch, between May 2009 and this March.
New phone records released to the AP on Tuesday show Taliaferro received one final text message from Hausinger the morning of March 17, less than 24 hours before TMZ.com first reported that Gallon had received money from Hausinger. No other phone calls to Hausinger's numbers were evident on Taliaferro's final phone bill, which had been excluded from the documents previously released by Oklahoma, although several calls were listed as having the number blocked.
Oklahoma has said the phone contact alone does not constitute an NCAA violation, and that it is reviewing the content of the calls to determine whether rules were broken. The university is withholding other documents until it has finished its investigation.
Taliaferro and Gallon are no longer associated with the Sooners, part of a mass exodus from the program after its first losing season in nearly three decades.
Taliaferro resigned April 7, faxing in a letter stating that "certain potential future employment opportunities have arisen, which in all honesty would prevent me from focusing one hundred percent on my duties and obligations to the university.''
Gallon entered the NBA draft following his freshman year, joining fellow underclassmen Willie Warren and Tommy Mason-Griffin in turning pro. Guard Ray Willis and center Orlando Allen also left the team and assistant coach Mark Cline took a similar job at Marshall.