OU bans players from working at car dealership

Wednesday, August 23rd 2006, 4:52 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma has banned its athletes from working at a car dealership where two football players, including the team's starting quarterback broke NCAA rules by accepting payment for more work than they performed.

The university, in a report to the NCAA released Tuesday following an open records request by The Associated Press, said it banned athletes from working at Big Red Sports and Imports after Oklahoma's compliance staff received "poor and inappropriate treatment'' from the dealership's previous management.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops dismissed starting quarterback Rhett Bomar and his roommate, offensive lineman J.D. Quinn, on August 2, 2006 after the university's compliance staff uncovered the violations. After the dismissals, Stoops said that Bomar and Quinn "knowingly'' broke the rules.

The dealership is under new management, and the current owners cooperated with the university's investigation, according to the report.

In the report, the university said it compared athletes' time cards with class schedules, summer workouts, practice schedules and other time commitments and found no evidence that other athletes were "paid for working during practice or class times.''

Seven athletes worked at the dealership during one summer, four washing and detailing cars, and three moving cars around Big Red's lots. For Bomar and Quinn, whose names are redacted from the report, the university found "substantially more hours'' claimed on W-2 forms than were listed on a time card report.

The university report states "the employment records maintained and provided by Big Red for temporary summer employment were also at times incomplete or in conflict with other records they maintained on the same employee.''

The report indicates some athletes did not know how to use the dealership's time card system and did not have time card records for several weeks at the beginning of their employment. It also shows that the time card reports "frequently'' would have a clock-in time but no clock-out time.

The amount of the extra benefit received by the players was redacted from the report, but it indicates athletes generally were paid $10 per hour or $70 per day.

Bomar's father, Jerry Bomar, told The Oklahoman on Tuesday that the overpayment was "between $5,000-$7,000.''

In an interview with Oklahoma investigators, Stoops said he called Big Red manager Brad McRae in 2004 or 2005 to make sure his players were there and "doing the right things, make sure they're working hard, um, and to make sure things were done right.''

"I had specifically asked to make sure, um, that they're working the hours they're supposed to work, that they're getting paid as they should, that they're treating them like you would your other employees,'' Stoops said in the interview.

Stoops also said he declined McRae's offer to meet privately this February.

Oklahoma's internal investigation was sparked by an anonymous e-mail to university President David Boren on March 3. The university previously had investigated the circumstances by which tailback Adrian Peterson bought a car and then returned it to the dealership several weeks later, determining the arrangement did not violate NCAA regulations.

The dismissals of Bomar and Quinn came 3 1/2 months after Oklahoma appeared before the NCAA Committee on Infractions for violations that occurred under former men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson. While additional limits were placed on Sampson's recruiting at Indiana, the NCAA accepted Oklahoma's self-imposed probation on the basketball program and its limits on recruiting trips and scholarships following the investigation into 577 impermissible phone calls by Sampson and his staff.

The school also avoided a severe "lack of institutional control finding,'' although the NCAA also found secondary violations by Oklahoma's softball and men's gymnastics teams.