A Timeline of Oklahoma Cheating

With the Oklahoma Sooners’ undeserved national championship game approaching, let’s look back at the history of rules breaking at this fine institution.

Oklahoma Sooners v Texas Longhorns

1889: The Land Run
Territories in Oklahoma were opened for settlement at high noon on April 22, 1889, with an estimated 50,000 people lined up for their piece of the available two million acres. It was called a land run as land was claimed on a first come, first served basis.

Those who broke the rules by crossing the border into the territory before it was allowed were said to have been crossing the border sooner, leading to the term “sooners”, which eventually became the state’s official nickname.

Thus, the state institutionalized the approval of cheating.

1955: Recruiting Violations
Accusations were made by the NCAA of paying player’s tuition after their eligibility had expired, paying the bills of player’s families, and of the liberal spreading around of money in general. OU was put on probation for two years, with the NCAA noting how much it appreciated OU’s cooperation.

1960: The Slush Fund
A NCAA report stated that an OU athletic department official (unnamed) failed to report a slush fund operated by OU staff. The official stonewalled when its existence was revealed. OU was put on “indefinite suspension” until OU proved the slush fund was gone.

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

1973: Various Violations
Accusations included boosters providing transportation to recruits, and a Sooner assistant falsifying QB Kerry Jackson’s transcript so he would be eligible (the assistant was not terminated). The NCAA gave OU a TV ban and a bowl game ban. Barry Switzer was on the staff at this time, but was an assistant to head coach Chuck Fairbanks.

1980: Sweating the Small Stuff
Lots of smoke, but not much fire. Switzer mocked the NCAA for prosecuting them in his book, “Bootlegger’s Boy”, but players Charles Thompson and Brian Bosworth reported getting paid well in their respective books.

1988: Switzer’s True Colors Show
Any doubts that Switzer ran a dirty program were dispelled by the NCAA’s report covering 1985 and 1986. Assistant coaches offered envelopes with cash to recruits, cars were provided, bills were taken care of, and game tickets were sold. An internal OU investigation revealed no additional violations. Unfortunately, ex-players and recruits talked, so the NCAA reported additional violations.

OU again investigated and found nothing more. The NCAA sanctioned OU, and informed them that if they fought the sanctions, the NCAA had more they could investigate.

Oklahoma received a three year probation, a two year television ban, and a one year bowl ban. Switzer was fired.

Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals: Illinois v Indiana

April 2006: A Phone Addiction
The NCAA revealed an investigation into hundreds of improper recruiting phone calls by former basketball coach Kelvin Sampson’s staff. Oklahoma escaped major sanctions, as the NCAA found OU guilty of a “failure to monitor,” a less severe ruling than “lack of institutional control,” which had been recommended by the NCAA’s enforcement staff.

The NCAA backed OU’s self-imposed two year probation, but also issued a public reprimand and censure.

August 2006: Big Red Imports
Right before the 2006 football season, it was revealed that Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn had been kicked off the team. They had been “employed” by car dealership Big Red Imports, and being paid for work they did not perform. They were let go from the team right before the NCAA came down on OU.

Additional investigations by OU concluded that no additional violations had occurred, even though Adrian Peterson had purchased a vehicle from the dealership before securing financing, driven it for several weeks, and then returned the car. Oklahoma ruled Peterson did not violate rules because the dealership said it was normal business practice.

Oklahoma was forced by the NCAA to forfeit its wins from the 2005 season and lost two scholarships for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years. It’s probation from the Sampson problem was also extended.

So there you are. Quite a history of dishonesty and cheating the Sooners have.

In all fairness, Bob Stoops seems to be trying to run a clean program. Their 2000 national championship is likely one of the cleanest ever. And there are indications that Stoops didn’t know about the Big Red Imports violations until right before he kicked Bomar and Quinn off the team, although the clearing of Peterson is a bit bothersome.

I’m sure this honesty is just a temporal situation, and Oklahoma will return to its cheating ways soon enough.

24 Comments on “A Timeline of Oklahoma Cheating

  1. Rick(OKLA)

    Fine research you have done! Now are you going to do the same on USC and Reggie Bush?

  2. Brian Combs

    Interesting question. I’ll do some checking.

    I don’t follow USC as closely as OU (being a Big 12 sort of guy and all), and don’t really know about any recruiting violations beyond the Reggie Bush thing. And given the NCAA’s reluctance to investigate that one, I don’t think I’ll find much.

  3. Blair

    Gosh, you left out that OU stole Yale’s fight song. You OU bashers always seem to miss that one.

    And I’m sure that you won’t find anything on the Reggie Bush thing, if, in fact, your even look. After all, Oklahoma’s the only college football power to violate the rules and USC is above reproach, right? What a hypocrite you are….

  4. Brian Combs

    Lighten up, Francis.

    I certainly didn’t say that USC was clean. They certainly cover things up better than most.

    And, yes, I’m proudly an OU basher.

  5. Longhorns should root for the Florida Gators | BrianCombs.net

    […] Let’s close by going back to the ethical issues. We know the Sooners have a history of cheating. […]

  6. College Football fans: Got a ? for you – Page 8 – City-Data Forum

    […] Yeah, let's talk about cheating…naw, let's not. Oklahoma is the epitome of a clean program. A Timeline of Oklahoma Cheating | BrianCombs.net I'll pretend you didn't bring up the "you guys cheat" excuse for the Oregon lost. Your […]

  7. OuRed


    There were more violations and major crimes during that run for the 2005 Battle of the ConvictS that UT won than most large cities endure in a year. I will say that in the end the Horns proved to be better cheaters than the condoms. I hope Mack doesn’t embarrass Texas to bad with his whine for Reggie’s Heisman campaign..


  8. switzer stoops girl

    its the most wonderful time of the year..the sooners are starting, the longhorns are whining, and its “OU TOUCHDOWN” boomer sooner. its the most wonderful time of the year!
    fyi mr combs, stop living in the past, majority of the teams were dirty back then. find real dirt on ou in the stoops era. what bout florida florida state? alabama? nebraska? YOURSELF? explain 19 violations in 2007.

  9. switzer stoops girl

    “Boomer Sooner”

    Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner,
    Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner,
    Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner,
    Boomer Sooner, O-K-U!

    Oklahoma, Oklahoma,
    Oklahoma, Oklahoma,
    Oklahoma, Oklahoma,
    Oklahoma, O-K-U!

    I’m a Sooner born
    And a Sooner bred,
    And when I die
    I’ll be Sooner dead.

    Rah, Oklahoma! Rah, Oklahoma!
    Rah, Oklahoma! O-K-U!
    here’s the link our songs are lil catchy

  10. switzer stoops girl

    True history of the land run
    One of the few rules to claiming a lot of land was that all participants were to start at the same time. Those who went too soon were called “Sooners”. Sooners were often deputy marshals, land surveyors, railroad employees, and others who were able to legally enter the territory early to mark out choice pieces of land for themselves or others.

    As time went on, “Sooner” came to be a synonym of Progressivism. The Sooner was an “energetic individual who travels ahead of the human procession.” He was prosperous, ambitious, competent, a “can-do” individual. And Oklahoma was the Sooner State, the land of opportunity, enterprise and economic expansion, very much in the Progressive spirit that engulfed the old South in the 1920s.
    sooner tradition
    There are currently more Merit Scholars per capita than at any other public university in America. The University has 19 colleges, offering 136 bachelors degrees, 94 masters degrees, and 51 doctoral degrees.
    hope you enjoy your lil history lesson, remember the past is gone, the future is now and stoops is the leader of the pack!

  11. edatx

    That’s funny how switzer_stoops_girl didn’t dispute any of the football cheating allegations.

  12. Joe Malley

    Even the TV announcers could see the OU defense moving before many plays against TTU 2008. I can’t trust somebody at OU to play fair. 35 home wins str8? What a joke.

  13. Joe Malley

    “Its like they already know the play” lol

  14. Nick

    Thats funny about the 2005 campaign…When you google anything about Texas cheating nothing comes up but the 09 Big 12 Championship when Texas beat Nebraska with 1 second left on the clock.

  15. Brian Combs

    Obviously, that’s because Texas controls Google.

    Or, perhaps, it might be because no cheating occurred then.

    Wonder which one William of Occam would pick…

  16. axis70

    Huhh grrr…I’ve got to admit…this is the funniest article I’ve read in years…and it was a pleasure reading it.Thanks Combs..yep…especially the comments on Oklahomo as being a progressive state..ahh.that was refreshing..yep…progressives in the south during the 1920’s were called carpet bagger’s…okay..and they came from your neighboring state called Kandyasses.opps..I mean Kansas..oh well.I did enjoy your history lesson..that was special…yep…I’m just looking forward to this January when the SEC gets to beat up on the Okla-homo’s,,,huhh grr…yeppers..that’s gonna be a lot of fun…see ya in January..chumps…:)

  17. axis70

    Oh yeah…one more thing…progressive is another word for Communist…yep..it appears Liberal kindda wore out it’s welcome..yeppers..once again..so now we’re back to using progressive.and yes…it’s refreshing…but I like using the word Communist…cuz..you know..it’s more to the point..okay..so.. there’s your history lesson..peace…see ya in January..oh yeah..bring your wagons..cuz.. your gonna need em..”sooner”..rather than later…:)

  18. axis70

    Hey…I thought Oklahomo could be first in something to do with college football…I got to admit…I was surprised to see them come 2nd on the all time cheating list…oh well..I guess they get to come in 2nd in something else again this year..yep..right behind the winner of the SEC and their National Championship victory..yeppers..I guess old # 2’s good..I got to admit..I enjoy mine every morning after my 1st cup of coffee..yep..good old number 2…:)

  19. axis70

    woo…sitting here talking about..”we didn’t cheat as much as they cheated…their better cheaters than us”…woo..too funny..yeah..that’s why your number 2 on the all time cheating list..Duh..USC could out cheat ya’ll any day of the week..are ya’ll gonna take that..you better get your cheating pannies on…don’t let them boy’s out cheat you..them fighting words yo…woo..oh well..I was surprised..and I’m inspired..so..I guess I’m a fan…YAY ME..go “laters”…:)

  20. axis70

    Yeah…Texas is untouchable…my sister went to Carolina back when Mac was the head coach and tutored the football team…not the whole team..just a couple of players..yep..they couldn’t even read “tip jumped the fence”..literally couldn’t read on a 3rd grade level..and as a result… were given copies of the test to memorize..and allowed to take them home with a copy already finished and still couldn’t pass…so..I’m sure he’s running a A-1 program their in Texas..for sure..but don’t let him out cheat Oklahoma either..cuz..that would be silly…come on Oklahoma..I miss the old days..let’s get it together..peace…:)

  21. Sean in South Texas

    Adrian Peterson never violated any NCAA rules when he drove his Lexus, and the 2005 wins that were vacated were reinstated since the NCAA linked our basketball problems from Sampson and the Big Red incident together. But after Sampson was fired from Indiana for overcalling recruits, the NCAA found out that wasn’t the case and decided to reinstate the wins. Keep hating on OU all you want…but we are destined to win more National Championships now that we have Mike Stoops back as our defensive coordinator. BOOMER SOONER!!!!!!!!

  22. Jim Robins

    Sooners cheat, water is wet.

  23. Jeff Spencer

    Fun reading comments from old articles. Boy was Sean from South Texas wrong about winning more titles with Mike Stoops back.

  24. Christopher

    Ok should move back to the Midwest USA and quit mooching off of the State of Texas !

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