Stoops: Bomar "knowingly" broke NCAA rules

Friday, August 4th 2006, 4:56 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Coach Bob Stoops said Thursday that Oklahoma acted quickly when it found out that starting quarterback Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman J.D. Quinn broke NCAA rules through their employment at a car dealership.

Stoops said he had not been aware that Bomar and Quinn were working at the dealership last fall until Oklahoma's compliance staff investigated the situation. He said he didn't rush to a decision but considered it ``fairly cut and dry.''

Stoops said the players, who were dismissed from the team on Wednesday, ``knowingly'' broke the rules. The university has said the players were being paid for more work than they actually did.

``Both parties were aware that their actions were in violation of NCAA rules. They did it over a long and extended period of time,'' Stoops said. ``That's conduct that we won't tolerate here at the University of Oklahoma.''

Bomar set an Oklahoma freshman record with 2,018 passing yards last season after taking over as the starter in Week 2. Quinn, Bomar's roommate, was expected to compete for a starting spot after making four starts last season at right guard.

Stoops said players and the businesses that employ them are expected to turn in documentation of the employment.

``If people are going to, in their own choice, do something knowingly against NCAA rules, they're not going to tell you about it,'' Stoops said. ``Once we knew or had any inkling of it, we acted on it and our compliance staff got to the end of it.''

Stoops said he wasn't sure what Oklahoma could do differently to prevent similar problems in the future.

``In the end, again if somebody understands the rules and knowingly breaks them, then everybody suffers the consequences of it and they do for sure. In the end, players need to be accountable.

``We can't spend every minute with them, our compliance staff cannot spend every minute with them. When are they held accountable?''

Oklahoma started the process of moving forward by naming Paul Thompson as its new starter. Thompson served as a backup for three seasons, including his redshirt year, before beating Bomar out for the starting job last fall. Bomar claimed the starting role after Oklahoma lost to TCU in its season opener, and Thompson remained the backup despite a subsequent move to wide receiver.

``There's no question the way Paul has worked here the last four years, the players are excited about it,'' Stoops said. ``They've got great confidence in Paul. We do as a staff and are looking forward to the future with him.''

Saying he wasn't involved in the investigation, Stoops declined to get into details about when the offenses occurred. Stoops said the university does arrange some summer jobs, but he did not know how many players worked last summer.

``It has diminished over the years because most players _ virtually all of them _ are in summer school and working out,'' Stoops said. ``Summer jobs aren't the issue they used to be back in the days when kids weren't going to summer school all year and training all year.''

Athletic director Joe Castiglione said the dismissed players were the only ones implicated based on ``all of the information that we have available to us at this time.''

Some recruiting services rated Bomar as the nation's top quarterback when he came out of high school, and he developed into the team's leader over the course of his first season as starter. Under his direction, Oklahoma won six of its last seven games, including the Holiday Bowl against Oregon.

Bomar declined an interview with KOCO-TV, but apologized to fans, coaches and his teammates for making ``a mistake'' on the station.

``I respect the decision that Coach Stoops made and the administration above him. We have to live with that, you know, we have to move on,'' he said during the segment.

``But I wish the best for the program. I cared about this program and I don't want anybody to think that we didn't.''

Quinn also apologized, saying he wishes he ``could take it back.''

``Hopefully he'll help me out and get where I need to be in my next step,'' Quinn said.

With former Heisman runner-up Adrian Peterson returning healthy at tailback, Oklahoma was expected to contend for the national title as it had the previous two seasons.

``I don't know that I feel a whole lot different than I did before this, meaning I don't believe Rhett had that much experience that we're losing,'' Stoops said. ``And so, from the end of the year, I felt we have a lot that we need to work on for that to happen. I don't think we were coming into the year that he was Jason White coming back from his Heisman Trophy year the year before.

``It's safe to say, I know there's a lot of expectations for Rhett, what we have had to this point hasn't been anything that we can't overcome.''