Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Will the NCAA drop the big one on UCO/Langston?

As most LSC fans area already aware of, there is no coach sitting on a hotter seat than Central Oklahoma's Chuck Langston.

His 28-21 record over the last 5 years is fairly respectable. However, when you take into account massive recruiting infractions, gorgeous facilities, the largest enrollment of any LSC school (15,500), and an administration set on moving up to Division I, it is easy to see that more should have been expected.

For those of you living under a rock for the past few months, the NCAA began investigating UCO for possible recruiting infractions on August 2, 2006. They recently sent a letter to UCO advising them of their allegations.

The Daily Oklahoman received a copy of the letter the NCAA sent to Central Oklahoma. The NCAA allegations include (take a deep breath):

  • UCO failed to exercise institutional control over its football program.
  • More than 80 athletes had their tuition paid by UCO for remedial classes at Rose State College.
  • Athletes received cash to pay for lifeguard classes.
  • An athlete received $200 cash from a UCO athletics department official.
  • The athletic department provided and arranged for transportation to classes at Rose State.
  • Football players got free housing, food, transportation and use of facilities when they were not enrolled full-time.
  • The athletic department paid for surgery for an athlete prior to enrollment.
  • The athletic department provided sports medicine treatment for athletes prior to their enrollment.
  • UCO failed to record countable hours of athletic related activities, which are limited by the NCAA.
  • Athletic department members engaged in athletic activities outside the playing season by being present at a seven-on-seven scrimmage.


Now how does 28-21 sound?

These infractions have been going on for quite some time – August 1, 2003 to May 31, 2007 according to the NCAA.

Stop right now, go back and read those dates, and see if anything jumps out at you.

As stated I stated earlier, the NCAA advised UCO they were under investigation on August 2, 2006. According to their report, they found infractions (paying for classes for JC athletes at Rose State) all the way up until May 31, 2007.

So even while they were being investigated by the NCAA, they were STILL committing the exact same infractions they were being investigated for. We’ll come back to this issue in a little while.

When the NCAA advised UCO of it’s findings, UCO President W. Roger Webb issued a statement which included the following penalties levied by UCO against themselves:

A. UCO head football coach Chuck Langston was suspended for 2 weeks, which was actually only one game. That one game was the 27-17 win over ACU, and the headline of their season. Langston watched from home.

B. Langston will not be allowed to conduct off-campus recruiting activities for a period of one year.

C. UCO has in place two full-time athletics compliance officers and will continue to develop and implement a comprehensive system to effectively monitor the recruiting process for prospective student-athletes in all sports, particularly football. In addition, the university will continue to develop and implement a comprehensive NCAA rules education process.

On a side note, UCO did not even have a full-time compliance officer until hiring one the day BEFORE receiving the letter of allegations from the NCAA. Very odd.

UCO Spokesman Charlie Johnson added "We have the option to continue to review the information presented by the NCAA, and may determine that additional self-imposed penalties are necessary to correct infractions of NCAA bylaws," Johnson said. "We may find more. The inquiry we are doing internally continues.”

At this point, it has been a month and a half, and UCO has not levied any other penalties against themselves regarding these issues. They only have until November 2 to respond, which is 2 weeks from now. It appears they feel that the slap on the wrist Langston received was penalty enough for the biggest list of recruiting infractions in Division II history.

However, if you look into this a little more, you may see why.

UCO Athletic Director Bill Farley was in charge at Central Oklahoma during the time all of these infractions occurred. While in charge of the Athletics Department, Mr. Farley apparently decided that a compliance officer was not needed until the day after receiving the letter from the NCAA. Coincidence? Mr. Farley spent 8 years in the athletic department of OU.

Coach Langston was a standout lineman at OU before heading into coaching. He was actually recommended by former OU coach Kelvin Sampson. Let me get this straight - Kelvin Sampson, never known for his squeaky clean program at OU or Indiana - apparently talked with his OU buddy Farley about their OU buddy Langston and a red flag never shot up? Just google “Kelvin Sampson recruiting” and set aside a few hours to read through all the articles.

This is the equivalent of Richard Nixon recommending someone to run your political campaign, and deciding “Yeah…that’s a great idea!”

I seriously question how intense the “follow up investigation” has been under an AD who never hired a full-time compliance officer until the NCAA was breathing down their necks and hired a head coach recommended by one of the dirtiest coaches in all of college football. The fact that they apparently are satisfied with the “penalty” handed down speaks volumes in regards to just how serious they are taking this.

If you are the NCAA, what are you thinking?

Put yourself in their shoes. Here we have the biggest list of recruiting infractions in the history of Division II football. We’ve advised them of the laundry list of issues they face. Even during our investigation, they are still illegally paying for classes for kids at another school. When given a chance to penalize themselves, they suspend their coach for 1 game. They stated they would continue to investigate and hand down further penalties if needed. Apparently they feel they have done what needs to be done, as their 90 days is almost up and they have been silent. We have dropped the “Lack of Institutional Control Bomb” on them, and they decided this was the only penalty needed.

I think you can see where I’m going with this.

Not only was the investigation completely ignored with infractions still occurring, the “penalty” they assigned to the Head Coach in charge of this program was laughable and they have not done anything since - even though the Lack of Institutional Control label is the biggest claim the NCAA can make against a program.

If I am a UCO fan, I am finding the nearest bomb shelter. Their responses to the NCAA up to this point have been almost humorous, and I don’t think the NCAA is laughing.

For UCO’s sake, I hope I am wrong in this, but I think we may have a “statement” ruling coming fairly soon. The NCAA will go over UCO’s response at their meetings in Indianapolis December 7-9, and should have a ruling sometime soon after that.

My personal prediction is that they lose double digit scholarships over the next few years, ban from post season play, and the eventual firing of Chuck Langston before the start of next season. I realize that they have stood behind him this far, but I cannot imagine a school keeping a coach on board with a mediocre record and this kind of laundry list of infractions. Just wouldn’t make sense. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the NCAA stick a Show-Cause Order on Langston.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the AD let go. Every bit of this occurred under his watch, and could have easily been headed off at the pass if he only had a full-time compliance officer. In a school this big, with this much money coming in, there is no reason to not have a full-time compliance officer unless you have a reason to not have one, if you get my drift.

As usual, the shortest path is usually never the best path. Unfortunately, on this path UCO may have hit a dead end.



Anonymous said...

We cannot believe the state of Oklahoma would put up with such a shady coach.

Jimmy Johnson
Kelvin Sampson
Barry Switzer
Billy Tubbs

Anonymous said...

I wish the AD would have fired him instead of a two game suspension. The team played by far their best game in two years against ACU and then he came back and they went right back to their predictable offense.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious the kind of person Chuck is by how his team acts. The program is headed in the wrong direction. Chuck should leave if he had any since of pride, but of course if he had that he would have never gotten in trouble!

Anonymous said...

I know someone in the athletic department. Suffice to say that things are essentially business as usual. The coaches have carte blanche to run roughshod over the NCAA compliance people on campus. While I really want to see UCO make the move to D-1, I think the school would be better served with a huge wakeup call while in D2. I wouldn't mind seeing the NCAA imposing the death penalty or something close to that. The sanctioning of Langston and his assistants' behavior by the administration is indefensible. The NCAA needs to make certain to properly embarrass those actors in order to ensure this never happens again.

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