NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma has taken the first step to appealing a ruling by the NCAA that stripped the football team of its 2005 wins and found the university guilty of "failure to monitor" the employment of its athletes.
OU President David Boren sent a notice of appeal of those two findings to NCAA President Myles Brand.
Boren noted the appeal was limited only to the "failure to monitor" finding and the NCAA's penalty that forced the Sooners to erase all of the wins from its 2005 season, when OU went 8-4 and won the Holiday Bowl.
"We have accepted a large majority of the NCAA's findings and penalties because we agree that the highest possible standards of conduct and ethics should be maintained and that when mistakes are made, even if they are unintentional, institutions must be held accountable," Boren said in a statement Friday.
The penalties stem from a case involving players, including starting quarterback Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman J.D. Quinn, who were kicked off the team last August for being paid for work they had not performed at a Norman car dealership, Big Red Sports and Imports.
On its notice of appeal form, Oklahoma indicated it would appeal all five of the findings on which the "failure to monitor" violation was based. Those include the school failing to follow established procedures to track employment by collecting gross earnings statements for 12 athletes who worked at the car dealership and failing to detect that athletes were working at the dealership in the spring and fall of the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.
Oklahoma also indicated it would use all of its possible grounds for appeal - that the evidence is contrary to the violation finding, that the facts do not constitute a violation, and that a procedural error affected the reliability of information supporting the infractions committee's finding. It also claims the removal of the Sooners' eight wins in 2005 was excessive.
The school requested the appeal be based on written record of its appearance before the infractions committee in April instead of being heard in person before the appellate panel.
In a letter to Brand released Friday, Boren wrote that the university wasn't requesting a hearing because of the "limited scope and nature of the appeal."
The removal of the wins was the only penalty challenged by the university.
Among penalties that were not challenged were the addition of two years of probation to an earlier penalty, extending the Sooners' probation to May 23, 2010, and the removal of two scholarships for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years.
The university already had banned athletes from working at the car dealership until at least the 2008-09 academic year and moved to prevent the athletes' supervisor at the dealership, Brad McRae, from being involved with the university's athletics program until at least August 2011.
In addition to Bomar and Quinn, the Sooners also dismissed walk-on Jermaine Hardison, who received payment for time he spent in a scrimmage and spring game.
Both Bomar and Quinn lost a season of eligibility. Bomar has been ordered by the NCAA to pay back more than $7,400 in extra benefits to charity, while Quinn was told to pay back more than $8,100. Both players transferred to Division I-AA schools - Bomar to Sam Houston State and Quinn to Montana - where they can resume their careers this season.
Once the NCAA receives OU's notice of appeal, the university has 30 days to file a written appeal.
Boren also informed Brand in the letter dated Thursday that Oklahoma has hired additional compliance officers, including a former member of the NCAA's enforcement staff, in hopes of having a "model, and continually improving, compliance system."
"Even though no compliance system is perfect and there is no guarantee that you can catch those who may intentionally choose to evade the rules, I can assure you that we will remain diligent in our efforts to have the best and most comprehensive compliance program possible," Boren wrote.