It has been more than a week since the nation found out about an investigation the FBI had been conducting on NCAA basketball coaches that ended with many fired and others arrested.
One of those, Oklahoma State coach Lamont Evans.
Thursday was the first time OSU head coach Mike Boynton spoke with the media, as a cloud can be felt hovering around the program. Boynton, who spoke highly of Evans when he decided to stay on with the program after the departure of Brad Underwood last spring, said he never expected this from his assistant.
He claims to have learned of the investigation much like everyone else, from social media, but he stands by his earlier comments about Evans.
“I never had any suspicions,” Boynton said. “I was shocked as anyone when this happened. I learned of it, just like many of you did, by opening Twitter and seeing the headlines.”
Boynton has not spoken with Evans since his termination but is trying to move on after losing one of the biggest pieces of his staff.
“It’s a challenge, like a lot of other challenges, just in a different form,” Boynton said. “Obviously he’s someone who had the respect of our players, someone who had worked at this university before. Anytime you’re down staff, it makes every body else have to take on more responsibility.”
Although his name and the schools will be linked to this investigation for quite a while, Boynton said he does not, or never did, fear for his job. Instead, he was more worried about getting back with his players and making sure they were ok and ready to deflect any questions about to head their way to Stillwater.
“I told my team, this is a distraction,” Boynton said. “One that may linger on longer than we like, but one that we will certainly be able to try to look past.”
Boynton said he could not speak to all college basketball fans as the state of the game is in question, as he claims to have never been a part of a team with issues like this. He did want to speak to the Cowboy faithful, though.
“This is a great program, it has been for a really long time,” Boynton said Monday. “This is a product that they will continue to be proud of and our staff will continue to work to reassure that we can put out a team and a product that they can continue to feel good about.”
Gary Shutt, director of communications with the school, also provided an update. Shutt said the school has hired a compliance group to assist in the internal review as it cooperates fully with the U.S. authorities.
There is no timeline for results and the school will be unable to comment throughout the process. It is the same group that helped review the University internally during the Sports Illustrated issue from a few years ago.
For now, Keiton Page is taking on more coaching responsibilities as Boynton tries to find out what he will do with the missing slot.