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Oklahoma State banned from men’s basketball postseason in 2020-21

There will be no Cowpokes in the next NCAA, NIT, or even conference tournament, and that means the #1 prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft might never play in a college postseason game.

Cade Cunningham of Montverde Academy in action against Sanford School during the City of Palms Classic Day 2 at Suncoast Credit Union Arena on December 19, 2019 in Fort Myers, Florida. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The NCAA announced the penalties for the Oklahoma State Cowboys men’s basketball program today, and the postseason ban hammer was amongst them.

When assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans took money to push students towards specific “agents and financial advisors” (they were actually the FBI in a really dumb sting operation). Hiring unethical people to do unethical things means you can expect the anvil on your skull.

From the NCAA Committee on Infractions report:

In what he later described as “an easy way to make money,” the associate head coach accepted cash bribes from two financial advisors who wanted to gain access to student-athletes with NBA potential. From April 2016 through July 2017, the financial advisors paid the associate head coach between approximately $18,150 and $22,000. In return, he agreed to use his role as a coach and mentor to sway student-athletes’ important career choices and steer them toward the advisors’ services.

Evans got a 10-year show cause penalty, meaning he’s basically banned from being a college coach for a decade. But OSU has had six Level I violations before going back to the days of Henry Iba and Eddie Sutton. Of course that’s in the report as well, because college sports is all about tradition.

So someone has to pay for the stupidity beyond the people involved and those that hired him since this is amateur college athletics. And unfortunately for the ratings on that multi-billion-dollar March Madness television contract, in this case it’s a very big name.

Cade Cunningham is the #1 college prospect in the nation, and might be the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft next season.

And since NCAA staffers live like it’s 1955 while watching CCNY dominate the sport on their black and white TV’s, Cunningham’s National Letter of Intent is still binding. He would need a release from OSU to play college basketball anywhere else for what is likely his only season on campus. We’ll see how Stillwater reacts.

Jerry Tarkanian once said “the NCAA is so mad at Kentucky they’re going to give Cleveland State another year of probation.” Well through years of reforms, the NCAA now punishes innocent student-athletes that are also attending the same institution. Reform!

The tone set by this matters as it shows Indianapolis isn’t messing around with anything related to the botched FBI investigation, no matter how tangential. This was an assistant coach as a lone actor, not a recruiting violation or a competitive advantage situation, and they still dropped the hammer. There’s also the loss of three scholarships over three seasons, and some minor recruiting contact limits that likely won’t affect too much.

But if you think this is bad for one Big XII school, it could get so much worse for another. The Kansas Earthquake is still coming.

If today is any indication, RIP in peace, Rock Chalk.

UPDATE: 1:45 pm: The ‘Pokes respond: