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Thursday, June 23, 2011
Oklahoma closing in on investigation's end

By Eamonn Brennan

That was the word from Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, who told the Associated Press that the NCAA's investigation into Oklahoma hoops -- specifically, the path former forward Keith "Tiny" Gallon took to arrive at the Sooners' doorstep -- is nearing completion:
Castiglione said after a board of regents meeting Wednesday that there are "signs that we're moving toward resolution" and there "probably will" be developments he can comment on later this summer. [...] "We're certainly hopeful to get it to a resolution soon," Castiglione said. "It just needs to be resolved. We've gathered every piece of information we could possibly gather and responded to every request, facilitated any and all interviews. We're just waiting for the next step."

Of course, the question is not whether or when resolution will come. It's what that resolution will mean for Oklahoma.

On its face, it doesn't look good. The impetus for the investigation is allegations that Florida financial advisor Jeffrey Hausinger gave Gallon $3,000 to give to his high school so the school would release Gallon's transcripts. That was bad enough. When phone and email records tied Hausinger to former Oklahoma assistant Oronde Taliaferro -- who resigned when the investigation began -- things started to look much worse for the Sooners.

Since the Gallon fiasco emerged, Oklahoma has gone from a rising program with a young, promising coach -- Jeff Capel, who took the Blake Griffin-led Sooners to the Elite Eight merely two years ago -- to a flaming wreck of bottom-barrel talent and confusion. A disastrous 2009-10 season, in which Gallon and once-promising recruit Tommy Mason-Griffin led the Sooners to a whopping 13 wins, was followed by an even worse 2010-11, the season that got Capel fired.

And, yes, the NCAA investigation might have had something to do with that, too. The question is what it will mean for new coach Lon Kruger and OU's rebuilding efforts. Are there penalties there? Do they linger? Is OU hoops set for a protracted down period? It all depends on that resolution.