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NCAA penalty to Oklahoma State could have implications for Arizona, draft

An NCAA infractions committee panel announced Friday, June 5 2020, that former Oklahoma State assistant men's basketball coach Lamont Evans violated ethical-conduct rules by accepting up to $22,000 in bribes from financial advisers. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, File)

The NCAA’s conclusion to its investigation of the Oklahoma State basketball program could allude to what the Arizona Wildcats might face in penalties and separately impact the top of the 2021 NBA Draft.

An NCAA infractions committee panel announced Friday that former Oklahoma State assistant men’s basketball coach Lamont Evans violated ethical-conduct rules by accepting up to $22,000 in bribes from financial advisers.

The NCAA also levied penalties that include a one-year postseason ban for the team that takes effect next season. The ruling included three years of probation, a $10,000 fine self-imposed by the school and a reduction in basketball scholarships. The school said it will appeal the “unfair and unjust” penalties.

Evans also received a 10-year show-cause order in the case tied to the federal corruption investigation into college basketball, which became public in fall 2017. The school received a notice of allegations in November 2019.

Before the federal trial, Evans was arrested in September 2017 along with three other college assistant coaches, including the Wildcats’ Emanuel “Book” Richardson. Evans and Richardson both pleaded guilty to bribery charges.

Richardson was charged with “taking approximately $20,000 in cash bribes from athlete advisers in exchange for using his position to influence Arizona basketball players on his team to retain the services of the advisers paying the bribes,” according to court documents. Richardson pleaded guilty to the charge in June 2019 and has already served three months in prison.

The NCAA’s investigation into the Arizona program remains open, and the school has not yet received a notice of allegations.

“The programs that were caught up in the FBI investigation will eventually be punished severely,” CBS Sports HQ’s Gary Parish said Friday. “Oklahoma State is the first but obviously will not be the last.

“If you are Auburn, LSU, USC, Kansas, other programs, Arizona, that had coaches caught up in these things, this is a bad day for you because Oklahoma State was only charged with one level-one violation tied to a former employee and they still get a postseason ban.”

Of course, the Arizona case and any evidence remains completely separate from the Oklahoma State findings.

Oklahoma State’s case also has implications for the 2021 draft.

The top overall high school prospect, Cade Cunningham, is committed to attend the school for the 2020-21 season. Not having the ability to play in the NCAA Tournament, which can build a top prospect’s resume before the NBA Draft, could potential make him reconsider his options in college basketball or as a pro straight out of high school.

Jalen Green, the second overall prospect for the 2021 draft, per 247 Sports, has opted to join a new G League select team next season before being drafted into the NBA. Other top high school prospects have also more frequently played overseas, such as the National Basketball League in Australia and New Zealand.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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