There was an unexpected guest on the University of Tulsa sideline during the Oklahoma/Tulsa game this past Saturday. Baylor assistant coach Jeff Lebby was on the Tulsa sideline, seemingly getting a first-hand view of the Oklahoma defense in lieu of their matchup on November 14th.
The presence of Lebby on the Tulsa sideline violates NCAA bylaw 11.6.1, which prohibits “off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents.”
Lebby’s presence on the sideline was due to sideline credentials left behind by head coach Philip Montgomery. Montgomery was quick to take responsibility for the incident.
“Obviously, it was a mistake and a poor decision on my part to leave a credential for Jeff and his wife,” Montgomery said in a statement.
“They were in the Oklahoma City/Norman area for a wedding and came to the game to support me…there was no malicious intent on my part…I called [Oklahoma coach Bob] Stoops and apologized for the situation.”
Even with Montgomery’s explanation, Baylor head coach Art Briles, Baylor University and the Big 12 Conference have all weighed in on the matter.
“If I had been aware, that situation would have never happened,” Briles said. “As a coach, you’re never a fan. You always fall under different guidelines.”
Briles continued, explaining that Lebby’s presence was moot. “But from a strategic standpoint or an advantage, it’s absolutely goose egg*. You learn more watching on TV than you can standing on the sideline.”
Baylor University has already instituted a self-imposed suspension on Lebby for the first half of the Oklahoma game, which was accepted by Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in the following statement.
“The opportunity for Coach Lebby to scout a future opponent by being on the sideline of a conference member’s opponent is inconsistent with the principles and expectations of the Big 12 Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Policy.”
Baylor has already dealt with a pair of other assistant suspensions, as offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and receivers coach Tate Wallis were out for Baylor’s game against Lamar on September 12th.
In other news the Golden Hurricane will return to Tulsa on Saturday looking to get back on the winning track when they play the University of Houston Cougars in their first American Athletic Conference game of the season. Houston defeated the Hurricane 28–38 last season in Houston.
*Editor’s note: I find it amusing that Art Briles uses the term goose egg because I’ve never heard that used in this context.