Sports Illustrated Releases First OSU Football Investigation Article
STILLWATER, Oklahoma - News surfaced on Saturday that Sports Illustrated has been working on a series of investigative articles detailing alleged improprieties within the Oklahoma State football program.
The series was the result of a 10-month investigation into the Cowboys' football program and includes on-the-record and independent interviews from more than 60 former Oklahoma State student athletes who played from 2001-2010. It also includes testimonials from current and former staff members.
Part 1 is titled "Money" and was published online on Tuesday and will also appear in this week's SI Magazine. Here are some highlights from the first article:
- Eight former Cowboys told SI they received cash payments; 29 other OSU players were named by teammates as having also taken money. The payments stretched from 2001 to at least 2011.
- Some players received $2,000 annually and others around $10,000, and a few stars allegedly received $25,000 or more.
- Brad Girtman, Calvin Mickens and Rodrick Johnson told SI they received bonus payments, and seven other players say they were aware of payouts. Another dozen Cowboys -- including Darrent Williams, running back Tatum Bell (2000 to '03), wide receiver Adarius Bowman (2005 to '07), defensive end Victor -DeGrate (2003 to '06), quarterback Josh Fields (2001 to '03) and safety Vernon Grant (2002 to '04) -- were identified by teammates as having received bonuses.
- Teammates told SI that Bobby Reid received money earlier in his career, when he was the starting quarterback. Reid denies ever receiving money.
- T. Boone Pickens, the school's most prominent booster, was not implicated in any improprieties by SI's sources.
- SI claims that the payment of players did not start until Les Miles took over in 2001.
- Joe DeForest and assistant Larry Porteralso made straight payments to players. DeForest says each of the allegations against him is untrue.
- Kay Norris, an Oklahoma State graduate affectionately called Momma Norris, and John Talley, an area director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, were known on campus to over pay student athletes for work they did.
University officials have already come forward with statements regarding this issue, most recently coach Mike Gundy and athletic director Mike Holder on Monday at OSU's weekly press conference.
It has since been learned that Sports Illustrated will publish a five-part report titled "The Dirty Game," taking an in-depth look at OSU's transformation into a national power starting with the Les Miles' era in Stillwater.
Sports Illustrated has said that their investigation will be released in 5 parts. Below is a breakdown of the remaining articles in the series.
Part 2: Academics (On SI.com Wednesday, 9/11): Widespread academic misconduct, which included tutors and other OSU personnel completing coursework for players, and professors giving passing grades for little or no work, all in the interest of keeping top players eligible.
Part 3: Drugs (On SI.com Thursday, 9/12): OSU tolerated and at times enabled recreational drug use, primarily through a specious counseling program that allowed some players to continue to use drugs while avoiding penalties. The school's drug policy was selectively enforced, with some stars going unpunished despite repeated positive tests.
Part 4: Sex (On SI.com Friday, 9/13): OSU's hostess program, Orange Pride, figured so prominently in the recruitment of prospects that the group more than tripled in size under Miles. Both Miles and Gundy took the unusual step of personally interviewing candidates. Multiple former players and Orange Pride members say that a small subset of the group had sex with recruits, a violation of NCAA rules.
Part 5: The Fallout (On SI.com Tuesday, 9/17, and in the 9/23/13 SI issue): SI finds that many players who were no longer useful to the football program were cast aside, returning to worlds they had hoped to escape. Some have been incarcerated, others live on the streets, many have battled drug abuse and a few have attempted suicide.