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May 16, 2014

NCAA cuts OSU’s practice time

Oklahoma State’s football program has taken another hit.

The Cowboys will lose one day of practice time per week this upcoming season because of a low Academic Progress Rate score, the school said Wednesday.

The NCAA requires teams to earn a 930 four-year average to avoid practice restrictions. Oklahoma State’s average is 929.41. A school spokesman said if the score had reached 929.50, it would have been rounded up and the Cowboys would have avoided the penalty.

The cut in practice time comes as the school is investigating claims made in a series of stories Sports Illustrated published last year that included numerous former Oklahoma State players making allegations of cash payments to players, academic misconduct, inconsistent enforcement of drug policies and some of the school’s recruiting hostesses having sex with prospects from 2001-10.

A normal practice week is 20 hours over six days. The standard penalty for the violation is a limitation to 16 hours over five days, but the spokesman said the school will have 18 hours over five days because it made a successful appeal based on being so close to the required score.

“We have shown significant improvement over the last two years, and we were able to demonstrate that we’ve taken strategies to address the areas where we were losing points,” said Kevin Fite, the school’s senior associate athletic director for compliance. “That’s why we received partial relief from the standard penalty.”

The low four-year average is a result of scores of 916 in 2009-10 and 915 in 2010-11. When the APR is calculated next year, the 916 from 2009-10 — one of OSU’s lowest scores in the current four-year cycle — will not be included.

Oklahoma State’s scores the past two years have been 953 in 2011-12 and 934 in 2012-13. The school expects a higher score for 2013-14 because of a 30-man senior class.

“We are taking steps to ensure that our APR numbers improve moving forward,” athletic director Mike Holder said. “We are accountable for what we do and ultimately, we are here to serve our student-athletes and do our best to keep them on track to be lifelong contributors to society.”

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