STILLWATER — Entering his fifth year as head coach, Mike Boynton’s Cowboys will be ineligible for the postseason.
The NCAA denied Oklahoma State’s appeal, news broke Wednesday morning. Boynton and OSU Athletic Director Chad Weiberg held a press conference hours after news broke. Here is everything Boynton said.
“Thank you all for being here. I’m disappointed, disgusted, appalled, frustrated, but somewhere in Indianapolis there’s a group of people celebrating. Stan Wilcox gave a directive. He sent Jon Duncan and a team to save face. They won. Our players don’t deserve and shouldn’t have to deal with this. Russell Register and Sherika Montgomery came here and interviewed everybody they could, and they uncovered nothing. The FBI did its job, and so did we. There was a single NCAA violation. One player received $300. One player. Not a recruit. Not a future recruit. Not a family member. One current player received $300, and in and of itself because it was self reported by us, it’s a secondary violation to which the punishment is you pay the money back, you serve your suspension, which the kid did, and you move on.
“How we’re here and Stan Wilcox and Jon Duncan and Russell Register and Sherika Montgomery and the committee on infractions to include Ellen Ferris, Anthony Jenkins, Jonathan Alger, Allison Rich, and David Shipley, that’s the appeals committee, excuse me. The committee of infractions, Alberto Gonzales, Joel Maturi, Gary Miller, Vincent Nicastro, Larry Parkinson, Thomas Sullivan and [Sankar Suryanarayan]. They slept well last night. They feel good about the work they did, while I explained to 17 kids that their dreams of playing in the NCAA Tournament this year couldn’t be realized. That’s shameful. And there’s no wonder that nobody trusts them because they get to hide behind letters, COI and IAC, and they don’t have to come and do this and answer questions and talk to kids and talk to parents.
“So the message is clear. Because we had one $300 violation, no failure to monitor, no lack of institutional control, no recruiting violations, no head coach responsibility, no players playing ineligible. So if you got some of those things going on, don’t do what we did. What we did was we asked them, that we worked with them through this process.
“On Jan. 20, 2020, I flew to Atlanta to do the first round of this process with the NCAA. The next day we played OU here. It was important that I be there. Went to Atlanta for no reason to cooperate with them, to cooperate with Jon Duncan and Sherika Montgomery and Russell Register. And then this year, on Feb. 7, while in Lawrence, Kansas, for a game, the day we played, we had an appeal hearing. And we cooperated. And we showed up. And we answered their questions. And we provided all the information they asked.So if you are one of those other schools, be careful what they ask you for.
“Stan Wilcox should be ashamed that he gave this mandate because this was about trying to save face for something that was uncovered, not because of their doing. And now our cooperation has made it worse for a guy like Isaac Likekele, who was nowhere near Stillwater when this was happening. I had a young man in my meeting last night, raise his hand and asked me, ‘Coach, what are we talking about?’ That’s how long it’s been. [People from the NCAA] didn’t answer any questions today. That’s all you need to know about them.”
On the players’ reactions
“Sadness. I never imagined that we’d get the information we got on June 5. And the more I think about it, the more frustrating it is because I said that meeting was on Feb. 7 this year, nine months ago. If this was the decision, have some courage to stand up and say, ‘We stand by what we said.’ So no, there’s nothing really surprising that the players are frustrated, and in about 48 hours, we’re going to try to play a basketball game. I’m going to try to get these kids to buy into each other, and I’m gonna need our fans’ help.”
On where he is emotionally
“For me, it’s focused on the guys and trying in a couple hours to have a good practice somehow with all the questions that are going through their heads that are being asked of them from other people. That’s really what my focus is, and it’ll probably be that way for quite a while. I won’t really deal with any other emotion, other than making sure that they’re good and they feel comfortable that we have their back.”
On what he tells the players
“For me, it’s that they still have each other. There’s some things that this team had talked about being able to achieve that realistically aren’t possible at this point, playing in the tournament, getting further than we did last year, possibly Final Four, national championship. These guys have talked about those things. Kind of got to reset a little bit, that thought process because there are other things that we still can accomplish. Isaac Likekele can can do some special things as a senior and leave here with a legacy of being a guy who helped re-energize the program during his time. There are other guys who will have more chances coming back, but we’ll see. Some of it’s too far down the road to really consider, but right now my focus is just trying to get them prepared to go out and have a good practice today.”
On the scholarship reductions
“I really haven’t thought that much about that part of it. Certainly I know it’s out there. Like I said, I’ll deal with that as it comes. Obviously, recruiting is a big deal to us and what we do, but that’s certainly something we’ll have to consider as we move forward for whatever years that will have an effect on us.”
On if he thought the NCAA might decide that Oklahoma State has dealt with this long enough and would decide to move on from the matter
“The time served, in my mind, signifies you did something wrong and it’s gone long enough. In my mind, I don’t think it was justified, regardless of the ending. I thought the right thing to do was look at the facts. Look at the facts of the case. Not what Stan Wilcox said two summers ago, which was, ‘I would not want to be the first institution up,’ sending a mandate. And we were the first institution up and that there will be consequences while the investigation’s happening. Because that signifies that in their minds, the end result was already kind of in the bag, with no thought of like, ‘Let’s go through the process and let the facts lead us to the decision.’ That clearly did not happen in this case.”
On other schools not being punished as severely
“I’d be less than honest if I didn’t admit: I follow every single one of these deals. I read about the results of all of them, and there have been some results that have been very different from ours with very similar circumstances involved. That makes it even more frustrating because consistency, can they be able to justify it? If there was some consistency, you can say ‘OK, these cases have very similar circumstances and therefore the punishment, you could justify being similar.’ But the cases have similar circumstances, and the consequences are drastically different. And that’s utterly ridiculous.”
On if there is any relief on the process finally being over
“But it’s not over, right? The right decision could have brought some closure here. We’re closer to the end. There’s a probationary period out there still now, right? There’s a scholarship reduction out there now still. So, we’re looking at two, three more years of dealing with the repercussions of this decision. So while one part of it, in that we don’t have to worry about what the outcome is, is over there’s still some residual effect. There’s a kid who’s not going to get a scholarship to college because we can’t offer one over the next whatever years it is with that scholarship reduction. That sounds like a really just way to punish somebody who did something wrong five years ago. So, I don’t think so.”
On the players playing a season without the end goal of a national championship
“I don’t know. That’s a great question. It’s hard to see. I was on the road yesterday, and I got an email as I landed in Dallas. Somehow this stuff has always happened while I was flying to Dallas. So, I immediately knew when I got back, I needed to get these kids informed, caught up to speed, before today happened. The worst thing that could’ve happened is they read about this today. That would have made me just as bad as the people I named. I haven’t seen them since then. I have reached out to several of them, but I’ll see them in a couple hours for practice and we’ll start to try to mend. They’re hurting. We had some guys crying, for sure. Isaac Likekele, he was the first up in here and this stuff happened long before he got here, even long before Oklahoma State was involved in this. It just really is hard to make it make sense at all.”
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