Calling the case "significant and serious," the NCAA's Division I infractions committee said Wednesday that Oklahoma must vacate its eight football victories during the 2005 season, including a bowl win, because of major violations involving players working at a Norman auto dealership.
OU president David Boren said the university would appeal the decision, including a finding that the school failed to monitor athletes working at Big Red Sports/Imports.
"Above all, we do not believe that erasing the 2005 season from the record books is fair to the over 100 student-athletes and coaches who played by the rules and worked their hearts out for a successful season that year," Boren said in a statement.
The NCAA also issued a public reprimand and censure to OU, extended the school's current probation until May 2010 and cut two football scholarships each for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.
OU finished 8-4 in 2005, beating Oregon, 17-14, in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl.
"Vacate does not mean forfeit," explained Paul Dee, acting chair of the committee, which issued the findings and assessed the penalties. The teams that Oklahoma beat wouldn't get credit for victories. The Sooners' record for 2005 would be 0-4.
Dee, athletic director at the University of Miami, said in a conference call that Oklahoma would not have to return any bowl money.
The committee said that three players - quarterback Rhett Bomar from Grand Prairie, offensive lineman J.D. Quinn from Garland and walk-on wide receiver Jermaine Hardison from Midwest City, Okla. - received a total of about $17,000 for work they didn't perform at Big Red.
Individual statistics compiled by Bomar and Quinn in 2005 would also be vacated; Hardison never played in a game.
The penalties are on hold, pending the appeal.
This is Oklahoma's sixth major infractions case involving football and seventh overall.