The Oklahoma State Cowboys are gearing up to try and make another run at the Big 12 title in 2014 but face some adversity to do so. Due the program’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) falling below the NCAA’s minimum standard, Oklahoma State will lose the equivalent of one practice day per week for the 2014 season. For a Cowboys team that is trying to bring a lot of new pieces into the fold, that lost day could prove costly.
Oklahoma State scored a 929.41 APR over the last four years, just narrowly missing the cutoff of a 930 minimum score to avoid penalty. As a result, the team can practice five days a week instead of its current six, and for a total of 18 hours instead of the 20 permitted by the NCAA. The penalty could have been much worse, up to and including a postseason ban, but the program has made significant improvement over the last two years and were able to get by with a slap on the wrist.
But this slap could sting for the Pokes as they try and replace a great deal of talent from their 2013 roster. Their leading passer, Clint Chelf, second leading rusher, Jeremy Smith, top two receivers, Tracy Moore and Josh Stewart, and seven of their top 10 tacklers on defense all moved on this offseason via graduation or early declaration to the NFL Draft. That’s a lot of holes that Mike Gundy needs to fill before kicking off the 2014 season against the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles.
While the Cowboys are fortunate to have avoided a more serious penalty, their APR sanctions could still cause some havoc on the 2014 season. This team has to get a lot of new faces into the lineup next fall and could use every minute of practice time they can get, especially given their marquee nonconference kickoff to the season. Will Oklahoma State be able to rally and make a run at the Big 12 title despite their limited practice time next season?