The Oklahoma football program has suffered a series of embarrassments recently because its success created an atmosphere of lax discipline, the university's president said Saturday.
"We probably became a little lax because of the great athletic success we have had and so we maybe let things slide more than we should," interim President David Swank said in an interview with CBS. "We have had a good program and maybe discipline was not as good as it should have been, but it will be in the future."But Swank said he doesn't "think the program is out of control."
"We have had some very serious events occur on our campus and we are not going to make any excuses about that," Swank said. "But it is a few infividuals involved. But we are going to take some steps and I think we have taken some steps to address those problems.
The latest in the rash of incidents at Oklahoma was the arrest last week of of quarterback Charles Thompson on federal cocaine charges.
University officials said Friday the quarterback sought drug treatment before the last football season.
Swank said the university is going to focus on academics as well as athletics in the future.
"Our board of regents adopted a series of recommendations last week to put those kinds of steps in place," Swank said. "The first thing we are going to do is bring on board a new assistant athletic director for academic standards, and he is going to review every student athlete we recruit and not only are they going to have to be good quality athletes, but we are going to look at their academic capabilities and their character."
Swank reiterated staements made last week that the board of regents is not currently seeking the resignations of Athletic Director Donnie Duncan or Coach Barry Switzer because of the program's troubles.
"I think first the board of regents looked to me to implement these recommendations and I must in turn look to the athletic director and football coach. If we can't do it, then the regents are going to seek others who can," Swank said
"Right now I am going to ask the athletic director and football coach to implement these recommendations and get about running a good athletic program that is also a top quality academic program."
A former academic adviser for football players said Saturday that a new policy to more carefully screen recruits for character will help the football program get back on track.
Jin Brown, who left as academic adviser to the football program in September, said Thompson frequently came to his attention because he missed classes.
"I would say he probably had attendance problems when I was there that brought him to my notice more than other kids," Brown said.
"I took the problem to the coaches several times, and each time he would start going to classes again.
Duncan told a Tulsa television station Friday that Thompson sought drug treatment after testing positive on a second drug test last summer.
Thompson was arrested Monday on a federal complaint that he sold 17 grams of cocaine to an undercover FBI agent.