The Oklahoma State Cowboys were supposed to be penalized with practice restrictions in 2014. The football program had an APR score — a metric mostly based on graduation rates — that was slightly below the minimum threshold set by the NCAA. Therefore, the NCAA decided that the best course of action was to deny practice time to the Oklahoma State football team.
In other words, what was supposed to happen was the current crop of Oklahoma State football players were going to be punished for the failures of players who came before them. The intent of setting up the minimum APR requirements may have been noble, but the punishment, in this case, was ridiculous.
But now, those penalties have been lifted, thanks to the recent graduation of an unnamed player from the 1990s.
Yes, you read that right. Someone who played football for Oklahoma State in the 90s went back to school recently and graduated, so now the 2014 Cowboys get to practice as frequently as every other college football team.
Apparently, the ghosts of Oklahoma State football can both giveth and taketh away.
Putting aside the somewhat convenient timing of this revelation, with training camp just about to begin, it really puts into perspective how silly this whole situation was. It also shows how the NCAA prefers to punish players rather than institutions. Players from Oklahoma State’s past didn’t graduate often enough so, rather than fining the program, they decided to penalize the players who are currently in school working towards degrees.
The NCAA could have taken a number of different approaches, but they chose to lay down the punishment that would most significantly harm the development and professional prospects of the players who are still in school. It would have hurt the Oklahoma State football program too, but only through the harm first caused to the players.
Is it any wonder that the NCAA is currently under attack from all sides? The veil has been stretched too thin, and the farce revealed.