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NCAA Officially Ends Bryant’s Season
The junior will not be eligible to play until September 2010, possibly bringing an end to the college career of the top pro prospect. Bryant will be eligible to enter next year’s NFL draft.
OSU plans to appeal the decision to the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee, but athletic department spokesman Kevin Klintworth declined further comment.
The university announced on Oct. 7 Bryant was declared ineligible for lying to the NCAA about his relationship with former NFL star Deion Sanders.
He has sat out the last four games for the No. 13 Cowboys (6-1, 3-0 Big 12), who host No. 3 Texas on Saturday night in a game that will likely determine which team plays for the Big 12 championship.
The NCAA said in a news release that Bryant’s penalty actually constituted “relief” from even more severe penalties for breaking the agency’s rules for ethical conduct and preferential treatment. Bryant could have been forced to miss anywhere from half a season — or six games — to being rendered permanently ineligible.
The NCAA said mitigating factors presented in Oklahoma State’s case resulted in a lighter penalty for Bryant. The decision was based on whether Bryant “actively and deliberately concealed, omitted or provided inaccurate or false information” to the NCAA and whether he had multiple chances to provide accurate information but did not do so.
Bryant caught 87 passes for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns last season while also scoring twice on punt returns. This season, Bryant led the team with 17 catches for 323 yards and four touchdowns through OSU’s first three games.
While Bryant played in OSU’s first three games, OSU compliance officials were investigating an apparent meeting he had with former NFL players Sanders and Omar Stoutmire that he later lied about to the NCAA.
Bryant sent a letter with his initial application for reinstatement, asking to play again this season and that his “punishment is not so bad that I do not get to play football again at OSU.”
Bryant has not commented publicly since the university ruled him ineligible because he “failed to openly disclose to the NCAA the full details of his interaction with a former NFL player not affiliated with OSU.” Sanders later identified himself as that player, and Bryant also referred to him in his letter to the NCAA.
After his initial suspension, the university released a statement from Bryant saying “I made a mistake by not entirely truthful when meeting with the NCAA.”