Think Lon Kruger knew this was part of the deal when he came to Oklahoma?
Think he would have left UNLV a few months ago anyway if he did?
I have to believe he knew what was coming, that officials with the university laid out the forthcoming scenario to him when he was getting ready to ink a contract. Still, Kruger's not going to have a lot to work with in the coming years, as he'll sift through the mess, the erosion, that was left by the Kelvin Sampson and Jeff Capel eras. Both saw major infractions levied against the basketball program.
The latest came Thursday, as the Sooners, according to the Associated Press, asked the NCAA to give it two more years worth of probation, and not only that. The school offered up a docked scholarship, two offiicial visits taken away and 10 in-person recruiting days to be eliminated for 2011-12. There's also a vacation of the 2009-10 season, when OU went 13-18, the year after Blake Griffin left the team. A vapid, meaningless-yet-mandatory action every school has as its go-to now.
Why so much, though? It's because Oklahoma acted badly under Capel -- while it was already on probation the first time, in the aftermath of the Sampson violations.
This peace offering from OU to the NCAA stems from major violations by Oronde Taliaferro, a former assistant under Jeff Capel, who is now an assistant coach with Duke. Taliaferro was forced out in 2010, when Oklahoma began its investigation into the wrongdoings, specifically, illegal phone calls.
"The university and NCAA investigators released a summary report Thursday proposing penalties for the infractions committee to consider. Athletic department spokesman Kenny Mossman said that process should take several weeks and Oklahoma will not comment until the process is resolved," according to the AP's report.
Oklahoma committed major violations while it was on probation. That's huge, folks, even if you don't consider the phone-call rules to be contemporary. And the NCAA, and its president, Mark Emmert, have stated they're going to go hard after the rule-breakers. Harder than in most cases before. Oklahoma's giving up a lot here. The case may not be sexy or get much attention, but since -- as of now -- there's no apparent lying or veiling of facts, this could be a barometer for how serious the NCAA wants to be.
Since those affiliated with the Capel years are now gone (like Pearl and Tennessee's case), if not much else is thrown at Oklahoma, then we'll know what kind of regime Emmert is running. If schools eliminate all vested parties and attached coaches to staffs that commit major violations, will schools largely be off the hook afterward? Oklahoma's verdict will be one of the few in the early going that clues us in.