Sports Illustrated's 'The Fallout' Focuses On Life After OSU Football

Monday, September 16th 2013, 10:40 pm
By: Tess Maune

Sports Illustrated released the final installment in its investigation of Oklahoma State University's football program on Monday.

Part five is called "The Fallout," and it was released a day earlier than scheduled, with no explanation.

9/16/2013 Related Story: Sports Illustrated Wraps Up OSU Series With 'The Fallout'

The article looks at former OSU players, who were reportedly cast aside when they were no longer useful. The final piece in the series chronicles the lives of several former OSU players, calling them now "damaged and downtrodden."

Sports Illustrated

We spoke with another university's athletic director, who said some people choose not to utilize their full potential.

The magazine paints it as a field of dreams, a college football program that could turn a young athlete's troubled past into a bright future. Only, once their playing days were done, the young men were thrown back into the same hard lives they were trying to escape.

SI interviewed Jonathan Cruz, a player who told the magazine he tried to killed himself after being kicked off the team because of his grades.

Last week, in an interview with OSU's student newspaper, Cruz took responsibility for his academic failure, saying it was his fault.

The magazine says, after Cruz left Stillwater, he became a cocaine addict and a drug dealer. But he turned his life around when he walked-on at Northeastern State University, in Tahlequah.

NSU Athletic Director, Tony Duckworth, said in some cases an athlete's first choice isn't always the best fit.

"The level of high intensity pressure of being in the Division I spotlight isn't as prevalent at Division II, and then our coaches have an opportunity to ... really take much more of a life-coaching role for student athletes, thereby enabling them to hopefully be a big part of the reason they're able to succeed and do better this second time around," Duckworth said.

Thomas Wright was released from the team in 2005 for an undisclosed violation of team rules. He told SI he's been living with his parents and has been in and out of jail ever since.

Duckworth said, many times, student athletes are too young to appreciate the opportunity that comes with a full-ride scholarship.

"There is a lot thrown at them. They also have an enormous amount of support staff in place that are there to equip them to be as successful as possible," Duckworth said.

Monday, OSU announced it has appointed a former NCAA investigator to conduct an independent review of all the allegations raised in the SI investigation

9/16/2013 Related Story: OSU Appoints Lead Investigator For Internal Review

Meanwhile, editors with SI released an article explaining the series, saying they wanted to take an in-depth look at a corruption within a BCS program. They also defended writer Thayer Evans' reporting.

9/16/2013 Related Story: SI Gets Defensive With Explanation For "The Dirty Game"