Oklahoma fired coach Jeff Capel on Monday after he followed a trip to the NCAA tournament's regional finals with the program's first back-to-back losing seasons since 1967.
Capel was 96-69 in five seasons with the Sooners, but just 27-36 over the past two after Blake Griffin entered the NBA draft early and became the No. 1 overall pick.
Athletic director Joe Castiglione said his decision was based on the “totality” of the Oklahoma program, which landed under NCAA investigation again just as its probation was about to end, suffered a severe attendance drop and frequently lost players to early departures.
Capel had five years left on the contract that was extended after he made it within a win of the 2009 Final Four, with Griffin leading the way. He was making $1.5 million per year, and had annual raises and stay bonuses built into the contract. His buyout will be in excess of $2 million.
Despite having three McDonald’s All-Americans on the roster, the Sooners finished the season with nine losses to plummet out of the Top 25 and end with a 13-18 record.
HUSKIES NO. 23
Ohio State, Kansas and Duke were the only teams ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press’ college basketball poll this season, and they were among nine teams in the Top 25 from start to finish.
Ohio State (32-2), the overall No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament, led the poll for the third straight week and eighth overall. The Big Ten regular-season and tournament champions received 51 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel Monday.
Kansas (32-2) was No. 1 for one week this season. The Jayhawks, which won both Big 12 titles, drew the other 14 first-place votes and were second for the third straight week.
Washington, which swept to the Pac-10 tournament title, returned to the rankings at No. 23.
A study released Monday shows growing disparity between graduation rates for white and black players at schools in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.
An annual report by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport found a 2 percent overall graduation rate increase to 66 percent for Division I players, but showed the rates for white players is increasing at a higher rate.
The gap has grown from 22 percent in 2009 to a current level of 32 percent. White players show a 91 percent graduation rate, which is up 7 percent. Black players have a graduation rate at 59 percent, up 3 percent from last year’s study. This is the third straight year the gap has increased.
Richard Lapchick, the institute director and primary author of the study, said the gap makes it hard to celebrate the overall progress.
“To say that it’s troubling is an understatement,” Lapchick said. “It is a staggering gap ”
Lamar fired Steve Roccaforte as men’s coach after a 13-17 season and a 76-78 five-season tenure. Roccaforte spent three seasons on predecessor Billy Tubbs’ staff before taking over as head coach of the school in Beaumont, Texas, in March 2006. The Cardinals had a 15-17 record in his first season and tied for third in the Southland Conference East Division. Loyola of Chicago has fired men’s coach Jim Whitesell after seven seasons. Whitesell led the Ramblers to a 109-107 record, including a 21-11 mark in 2006-07 and their first 20-win season since 1984-85, but they finished eighth in the Horizon League the past four years. They went 16-15 this season, 7-11 in the conference. Iowa State forward Eric McKnight, who played sparingly as a freshman for the Cyclones, will transfer.
NCAA MEN'S FIRST FOUR
Dayton, Ohio; broadcast on TruTV
UNC-Asheville vs. Arkansas-Little Rock, 3:30 p.m.
UAB vs. Clemson, 6 p.m.
Texas-San Antonio vs. Alabama State, 3:30 p.m.
Southern California vs. Virginia Commonwealth, 6 p.m.