For years, some University of Oklahoma football players netted as much as $4,000 per season from complimentary tickets that were issued to them and then sold to boosters at inflated prices, the Dallas Morning News reported yesterday.
In a copyrighted story, the Morning News said a bank that was headed at the time by former OU president George Lynn Cross and prominent booster Jack E. Black gave preferential consideration to selected team members.
The Oklahoma football program is under investigation for possible recruiting violations, the Dallas Times Herald reported. The newspaper quoted David Berst, director of enforcement for the NCAA, as saying an investigation is under way.
"The NCAA knows more about our program than the Dallas Morning News," Coach Barry Switzer said. "I don't think they'll be surprised at anything."
The Times Herald reported that NCAA investigators are focusing on alleged recruiting violations and other possible improprieties and have made several trips to question former Oklahoma athletes who have since transferred to other schools.
The Morning News said it interviewed 22 football players who have left school since 1980, and eight said they either benefitted from the ticket sales or were aware they existed.
Four of the players confirmed that American Exchange Bank of Norman, Okla., financed new cars without customary credit checks or co-signers, a standard requirement for minors who borrow money, it was reported. Loan payments were scheduled as once-per-year "balloon notes," to coincide with the sales of the players' complimentary tickets.
University and bank officials denied they showed special treatment to student athletes.