By John Shinn
On the eve of its first preseason practice, Oklahoma dropped a bombshell Wednesday. Coach Bob Stoops announced two players have been dismissed from the team.
OU officials did not release the names of the players, but sources close to the situation confirmed they are sophomore starting quarterback Rhett Bomar and sophomore offensive lineman J.D. Quinn.
The two are roomates.
Bomar’s father, Jerry Bomar, declined comment when reached by phone Wednesday afternoon.
In a released statement, OU officials said both players were found to have received extra compensation from a private business where they were employed.
“We spend a considerable amount of time addressing our players regarding their personal conduct and the NCAA rules,” Stoops said. “They know exactly what we expect from them. Ultimately, they have to make right decisions. The same holds true for our boosters. When they do not, the consequences are serious, and we will not tolerate this behavior.”
“Our team and University actions are necessary because of the intentional participation and knowledge of the student athletes in these violations,” Stoops said. “I firmly believe that our program is stronger than any individual player and that a championship program cannot compromise its values.”
The violations are believed to have occurred while Bomar and Quinn worked at Norman auto dealership Big Red Sports/ Imports in the fall of 2005.
This is the second time the dealership has been at the center of an OU investigation.
In April, the school looked into standout running back Adrian Peterson’s purchase of a used car before securing financing. Peterson returned the car several weeks later. OU found no violation had occurred because the dealership said it was a normal business practice.
Both investigations occurred while the dealership was owned by Brad McRae and Mike Donohue. David Hudiburg purchased the dealership in April.
But OU cut ties with the dealership after its investigation into Peterson’s car and no Sooner players have worked there since.
A source close the program said OU started looking into the work done by Bomar and Quinn several weeks ago and information about their extra benefits came to light in the last 24 hours.
OU informed both the NCAA and Big 12 Conference of its findings Wednesday.
As of Wednesday, neither had started its own investigation.
The loss of Bomar could be a crippling blow to the Sooners, who were picked to win the Big 12 South this season.
He was a top-rated quarterback coming out of high school. Bomar redshirted the 2004 season while Heisman Trophy winner Jason White completed his career.
Bomar lost a quarterback competition to Paul Thompson last fall, but was named the starter after the Sooners’ season-opening loss to TCU. Thompson moved to wide receiver several weeks later.
Bomar started OU’s final 11 games and completed 54 percent of his passes, while throwing 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Sooners went 8-3 in those games, including a victory over Oregon in the Holiday Bowl.
OU signed junior college quarterback Joey Halzle in the spring and he was listed No. 2 on the Sooners’ preseason depth chart.
But many expect Thompson, who was White’s backup in 2003 and 2004, to move back to quarterback in light of the current situation and could very well end up being the starter.
Freshman Sam Bradford and sophomore walk-on Hays McEachern are also listed as backups.
Quinn played in 11 games last season and started four at right guard. He missed spring practice due to an injury, but was expected to be a starter this season.
“I am disappointed in these student-athletes,” OU athletics director Joe Castiglione said. “The education process is something that we take very seriously. We talk about it frequently and include guidelines in many of our printed materials. In the end, individuals must decide right and wrong for themselves and then live with the consequences. Unfortunately, many more people who themselves play by the rules are also affected by these consequences.”
Bomar’s and Quinn’s future is up in the air. According to OU’s statement, their dismissal is permanent and they will not be allowed to return under any circumstances.
They could transfer to another school, but only the NCAA can decide if they will be eligible to play at another NCAA institution.
The rest of the team reported Wednesday and practice begins at 4 p.m. today at the rugby fields south of Lloyd Noble Center.
Stoops is expected to make his first public comments today.