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Sooners admit to major violations

NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma admitted Thursday that it committed two major rules violations in its men's basketball program as it asked the NCAA for leniency despite its second serious infractions case in five years.

Under NCAA bylaws, a "repeat violator" can face a minimum of having the sport dropped for one or two seasons with no scholarships provided for two seasons.

The school conceded that it qualifies under the description of repeat violator — two major infractions cases within five years in the same sport — but said previous cases show those penalties "are not appropriate in this case."

"This is an isolated incident involving a single member of the coaching staff, who clearly knew his lack of action to prevent or report the violation was not acceptable," the university said.

In the latest case, the school said former assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro broke NCAA rules by failing to report that a player had received an impermissible extra benefit and by lying during the investigation.

Oklahoma asked the NCAA to place the program on two more years of probation, vacate its wins from a 13-18 season in 2009-10, and take away one scholarship, two official visits and 10 in-person recruiting days during the upcoming academic year.

Tar Heels AD resigns, interim coach named: North Carolina is now looking for a new permanent football coach and athletic director.

A day after the school fired Butch Davis amid an NCAA investigation into his program, Dick Baddour said he will step down after 14 years running the 28-sport department. He will stay until the school can hire a replacement.

The school promoted defensive coordinator Everett Withers to interim head coach Thursday.

Chancellor Holden Thorp admitted the firing was "terrible" timing as players open practice next week.

School officials announced that Davis, who has four years remaining on his contract, will be paid $2,703,500 as a buyout.

"We recognize that $2.7 million may be what this ends up costing us," Thorp said. "And I've made the decision that even though this is a terrible time, that the athletic program will need to pay whatever it is we need to pay to make this separation happen."

The school is paying Davis, 59, even though his contract states it would not owe him a buyout if NCAA violations that he should have reasonably known about occurred on his watch.

Thorp has said since the fall he was confident Davis didn't know about the violations that resulted in NCAA allegations of nine major violations in June.

Big ten Weathers storm: The Big Ten gathered in Chicago to usher in — and celebrate — a new era in one of college football's most tradition-rich conferences.

The league has a new format, with two divisions and a championship game, and a new powerhouse member in Nebraska to help draw viewers to its already lucrative television network.

No doubt, there were plenty of reasons for Big Ten pride on media day. And one ugly mess at Ohio State is drawing attention from all the good stuff.

The scandal started in December, when the university learned players were trading tattoos for memorabilia and led to the ouster of coach Jim Tressel and the early departure of quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Michigan State coach and former Ohio State assistant Mark Dantonio, whose relationship with Tressel goes back nearly 30 years, said watching the demise of his former boss was "heart-wrenching."

"To me it's tragic," Dantonio said. "He becomes a tragic hero in my view."

Sooners admit to major violations 07/28/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 29, 2011 12:28am]
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