Okla. businesses must limit athlete employment to prevent work fraud
By JEFF LATZKE
AP Sports Writer
By JEFF LATZKE
NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma has banned any business from employing more than five Sooners athletes at the same time as part of its response to NCAA violations that occurred when three football players took pay for work they had not done at a car dealership.
In a series of compliance changes intended to bring more thorough monitoring of athletes' employment, even those who do not have a job are required to fill out a form stating their status.
The changes were outlined to the NCAA in the university's annual compliance report required following major violations by the football and men's basketball programs. The Associated Press obtained the report today through an open records request.
Oklahoma subjected itself to an external audit by The Compliance Group in February 2007 and subsequently updated its student-athlete employment policy.
Athletes who wish to seek a job must now fill out employment registration forms and have them signed by their coaches before turning them in to the compliance department. Compliance officials then check with the coach to verify the signature and then work with the employer to ensure that NCAA rules are followed.
The Sooners were stripped of two scholarships after the NCAA ruled that quarterback Rhett Bomar, offensive lineman J.D. Quinn and walk-on Jermaine Hardison had taken pay for work they did not perform at the Big Red Sports and Imports car dealership in Norman. Bomar and Quinn were kicked off the team in August 2006, and by then Hardison had already been dismissed for an unrelated violation of team rules.
Oklahoma reported to the NCAA that it started periodic spot checks of athletes' employers last year and even monitors Big Red Sports and Imports, where athletes are prohibited from working.
In its investigation, the NCAA blamed Oklahoma for failing to collect gross earning statements for 12 football players who had informed the university that they were employed by Big Red in the summer of 2005. The new employment registration form authorizes employers to release earnings information to the school, and the university provides employers with gross earnings information forms and self-addressed, stamped envelopes to return them to the school.
Oklahoma also informed the NCAA that it has expanded its full-time compliance staff from three to eight workers and also has two part-time staff members. As a result, the annual compliance budget has grown to $1.2 million.
Oklahoma also plans to perform an annual audit of its compliance procedures until at least 2010, when its NCAA probation is set to expire.