Dez Bryant Ineligible After Lying About Visit to Deion Sanders' Home
The school confirmed Wednesday that All-American receiver Dez Bryant has been declared ineligible after lying to the NCAA about his interaction with former NFL star Deion Sanders this past May. Bryant visited Sanders' home in Texas, had lunch with him and worked out with the NFL star this past May.
But when asked by the NCAA first in the offseason, then again Sept. 11 about the interaction with Sanders, Bryant denied both accounts because he thought it was a rules violation. The meeting and workout with Sanders, who is unaffiliated with Oklahoma State, likely wasn't a violation. Misleading NCAA investigators, however, is.
"I made a mistake by not being entirely truthful when meeting with the NCAA," Bryant said in a prepared statement released by the university Wednesday. "I sincerely regret my mistake and apologize to my teammates, coaches, OSU fans and the NCAA."
The school said Bryant violated NCAA bylaw 10.1(d), which addresses "knowingly furnishing ... false or misleading information."
Bryant, who is expected to be one of the top receivers taken in next spring's NFL Draft if he forgoes his senior season, is planning to appeal to the NCAA in Indianapolis as soon as possible, the school said. In the meantime, the Cowboys have suffered another blow in its quest for a season for the record books.
The No.15 Cowboys jumped to fifth in the country during the second week of the season, but quickly dropped after a stunning loss to Houston in Week 2. Since then, All-American running back Kendall Hunter has missed the last two-and-a-half games with an injury and quarterback Zac Robinson has struggled to return to form.
Now, the Cowboys are at losing their best playmaker on offense and on special teams, as Bryant is a breakaway threat punt returner, and have their Big 12 opener at Texas A&M Saturday. Bryant leads OSU (3-1) with 17 receptions for 233 yards and four touchdowns this season. He's coming off a breakout season in which he caught 87 balls for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2008.
"We are certainly disappointed, but we are moving forward as we would with any challenge during the season," said head coach Mike Gundy in a released statement.
School officials did not disclose any other details, citing an ongoing investigation. The release did say OSU had began applying for reinstatement on behalf of Bryant.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.