Stuve: If Oklahoma State and Kansas are found guilty of committing NCAA violations, the rest of the Big 12 could be significantly affected

Senior guard Prentiss Nixon fighting for a ball during the Iowa State basketball game against Oklahoma on Jan. 11.

Sam Stuve

The Oklahoma State Cowboys men’s basketball team will likely be banned from the postseason, depending on the appeal, for the 2020-21 season and have recruiting restrictions for years to come. Iowa State may benefit from this.

The NCAA has banned the Oklahoma State Cowboys men’s basketball team from postseason play, placed recruiting restrictions on them as well as scholarship reductions and put them on three years of probation.

Oklahoma State is currently appealing the NCAA’s punishments.

The NCAA’s decision to ban Oklahoma State from the postseason, place them on probation and put restrictions on them stems from September 2017 when then-Associate Head Coach Lamont Evans was suspected of accepting about $22,000 in bribes to get players to go to South Carolina — where he coached previously — and then to Oklahoma State.

Evans admitted in federal court he had accepted bribes and is currently serving a three month sentence in federal prison. Oklahoma State insists he was acting alone and for personal gain.

Oklahoma State’s infractions are considered a Level I allegation. The NCAA defines Level I violations as “severe breach of conduct,” making it the most egregious — in the NCAA’s opinion — out of the four levels of allegations.

If the NCAA still decides to punish Oklahoma State after its appeal, the university will lose three scholarships for each of the next three seasons.

Losing three scholarships in each of the next three seasons, along with other recruiting restrictions, could significantly harm a basketball program, as usually a team signs four or five recruits in a recruiting class.

In the 2020 recruiting class, Oklahoma State signed the top recruit in the country, Cade Cunningham, who helped lift Oklahoma State’s recruiting class to 11th best in the nation.

It’s unclear if Cunningham or any of the other four recruits in the class would transfer if Oklahoma State’s appeal doesn’t work, but if he did transfer, then it could severely affect Oklahoma State’s success on the court in the next season or two.

The Cowboys are already losing six seniors from last season’s roster and if they lose any of the recruits they signed this year, they may be in a world of hurt for years to come.

This could help the Iowa State men’s basketball program jump ahead of Oklahoma State for the next three or four seasons if the punishments remain in place.

Oklahoma State hasn’t signed any recruits in the 2021 class yet.

Another Big 12 school may suffer the same or even worse fate than Oklahoma State — Kansas.

The Kansas men’s basketball program has been accused of committing five Level I violations, according to Yahoo! Sports, while its football program is alleged of committing a few Level II and Level III violations.

According to ESPN senior writer Mark Schlabach, “The NCAA enforcement staff said Kansas’ basketball program committed ‘egregious’ and ‘severe’ rules violations that ‘significantly undermine and threaten the NCAA Collegiate Model,'” and alleged that Kansas men’s basketball Head Coach Bill Self and Assistant Coach Kurtis Townsend “’embraced, welcomed and encouraged’ Adidas employees and consultants to influence high-profile basketball recruits to sign with Kansas.”

Back in September 2019, just after Kansas received its notice of allegations (NOA), CBS Sports reported that “Kansas’ alleged violations in basketball stem from the FBI’s recent investigation into the sport related to corruption and bribery. The probe roped in Kansas when T.J. Gassnola, a former Adidas consultant, testified about his involvement in funneling money to the mother of former KU basketball player Billy Preston and to the guardian of current KU basketball player Silvio De Sousa.”

If Self were to be found guilty for lack of institutional control, he could be suspended for a year.

If the NCAA finds sufficient evidence supporting the allegations, then the Kansas men’s basketball program could see a major decline in its court production.

The NCAA just punished (if the appeal fails) the Oklahoma State men’s basketball team, who committed one Level I violation, by banning them from the postseason and putting recruiting restrictions on them for three seasons.

Kansas has been accused of committing five Level I violations, so their punishment could be significantly worse than Oklahoma State’s if Kansas is found guilty.

While we can’t speculate what recruiting restrictions would be put on Kansas, if they are found guilty of committing Level I violations, then a postseason ban seems very likely.

If both Kansas and Oklahoma State receive postseason bans for the 2020-21 season, they would not be allowed to play in the Big 12 Tournament or the NCAA Tournament (as well as the National Invitation Tournament).

This could help a team like Iowa State become a surprise team come Big 12 Tournament time.

Iowa State has seen a lot of success in the Big 12 Tournament in the last seven seasons, winning the last four out of six tournaments.

Plus, with the recruiting restrictions that will likely come if both schools are found guilty of committing Level I violations, the other eight Big 12 schools may have the potential to see more regular season success if both programs don’t sign high-ranked recruits with the scholarships they would have remaining.