External audit positive for Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. -- An external audit of Oklahoma's athletic department found no major issues with the school's policies on practices as it tries to move out of an NCAA-imposed probation for major violations by the football and men's basketball programs.

However, the audit did not extend to the Sooners' football team. According to the documents, Oklahoma's compliance department planned new procedures to monitor the football program's activities starting this spring.

Oklahoma contracted with a law firm to audit the athletic department over a five-year span as the school seeks ways to improve its rules compliance after two black marks in the past five years.

Details of the audit were released to The Associated Press on Thursday following an open records request.

The audit performed by Bond, Schoeneck and King found that Oklahoma's systems for monitoring compliance are "functioning well" and "designed to both detect and prevent violations" of the NCAA's rules limiting practice time. The Sooners have not been accused of exceeding those limits -- the type of allegations the NCAA leveled against Michigan's football team earlier this year.

Oklahoma has been overhauling its compliance department following major rules violations in the school's two biggest sports. The Sooners' men's basketball team was disciplined in 2006 after former coach Kelvin Sampson made more than 550 impermissible phone calls to recruits. The following year, the football program was punished after players including starting quarterback Rhett Bomar received payment for work they didn't do at a Norman car dealership.

Those two major violations landed Oklahoma on probation until next month.

Last week, Oklahoma acknowledged it was investigating a report of a possible NCAA rules violation involving basketball player Tiny Gallon. However, it did not release any documents related to that investigation.

The documents also show the school self-reported 50 secondary rules violations in the last academic year, with most relating to recruiting phone calls and text messages and athletes receiving extra benefits.

Among the most recent violations reported were 31 impermissible recruiting phone calls -- 16 made and 15 received -- by an assistant recruiting coordinator who is no longer employed by the football team and an impermissible text message sent by assistant coach Bobby Jack Wright to a football recruit's mother.

The school prohibited football coaches from making any recruiting phone calls for a three-week span as a result of the secondary rules violations.

The university also disputed the NCAA's suggestion that three men's basketball players received preferential treatment by being allowed to participate in a voluntary summer workout for free during the offseason. The NCAA claimed others would have been charged $1,000 to attend. Oklahoma contended that only NBA players and players who have signed with an agent are charged for the workouts while members of the general public can participate for free.

The school eventually reported the participation as a secondary violation and the players paid $1,000 to a charity.