6 Investigates: Magazine Claims OSU Boosters Paid Players
STILLWATER, Oklahoma - One of the allegations in the Sports Illustrated article investigating Oklahoma State University's football program is that boosters were paying football players for good performances.
Former players were quoted in the article, saying they were handed envelopes of money in the locker room after a good performance on the field. Some alleged other players were paid as much as $25,000 by boosters.
On game day, thousands of fans descend upon the Stillwater campus, hoping for a big win. But some of these fans are actually banking on a win by investing in the football program. They're called boosters, and at OSU, most boosters are part of "The Posse Club."
The Posse prides itself on helping student athletes compete on the field and in the classroom by providing scholarships, helping with the costs of athletic facilities and padding the budgets of individual sports programs. Members receive benefits, like game day parking spots, based on how much they give--from $150 a year, to over $25,000. The big givers are ranked as the top 150 boosters.
The number one spot, of course, goes to T. Boone Pickens.
According to the Sports Illustrated article, Former OSU head coach Les Miles gave boosters access to the football locker room, airplanes and buses.
In the article, former player Fath' Carter alleges boosters gave players $500 handshakes and envelopes full of cash after winning games.
According to NCAA rules, boosters are not allowed to give money, gifts or benefits directly to student athletes, and the rules go out of the way to specify boosters can not give gifts based on performance.
We talked with more than a dozen of OSU's top boosters on the phone Tuesday. None of them would talk on camera, but each one of them said they had never been in the locker room, in a plane or on a bus with OSU athletes, nor had they been offered a chance to do so.
However, one booster, who didn't want to be named, said this: "There are boosters, and then there are boosters, if you know what I mean. And I couldn't tell you what kind of access they get."
OSU has an entire staff, in the Office of Athletic Compliance, who are dedicated to ensuring everyone, including players and boosters, play by the rules.