|Brandon Wade/Associated Press|
|Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State will have to navigate the 2014 season while dealing with a practice disadvantage.|
If the NCAA was looking to hit the Oklahoma State football program where it would hurt, it certainly found its target. The Cowboys will be penalized one practice per week by the NCAA, according to newsok.com on Wednesday, for substandard graduation rates. Its APR (Academic Progress Rate) score of 929.41 fell just short of the minimum standard of 930.
School officials reportedly expect the penalty to be in place for one year.
It's unclear how OSU might implement the penalty during the practice week this fall, but no matter how the restriction manifests itself, it's bad news for coach Mike Gundy and his staff. To operate under conditions in which his opponents are preparing for the Cowboys one day more per week than OSU is for them represents a significant disadvantage, and a strong deterrent for lax APR scores. One less practice per week during fall camp won't help season preparations, either, but game-week preparation will be the biggest problem.
Presumably, the penalty is meant to help student-athletes devote more time to academics. A noble outcome, to be sure, but one that could make for tough circumstances for Gundy this fall. The Cowboys play one Thursday game this season, on Sept. 25 against Texas Tech, but are idle the previous Saturday, which will prevent what would have been an even shorter practice week.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.