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OSU Allegations Come to Light with SI Series

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Today, Sports Illustrated released the first part of a 5 part series dealing with a 10 month investigation into the Oklahoma State Cowboys football program. Oklahoma State has known about the allegations since August 28th and have handled the allegations with much care, until now. With the article series being released today, the flood-gates have opened and the scrutiny is rapid and rampant. Even Oklahoma’s governor, Mary Fallin (a graduate of OSU) has released a statement on the report, stating that it is “disturbing and disappointing”, but that she has confidence in the president of the university to set matters straight.

The first part of the five part series deals with money laundering at the university. The SI article states that “Between postgame handouts from football staff and the largesse of boosters, Cowboys players had amble opportunties to receive under-the-table income. In separate interviews, eight former Cowboys told SI they received cash payments and 29 other OSU players were named by teammates as having also taken money.” The article goes on to discuss how players were not surprised to find socks or envelopes stuffed with cash, and how they also received money for doing odd jobs for the coaching staff, such as mowing the lawn and even fishing. Perhaps the biggest violation, though, was for paying players for their performances on the field (Something Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints know much about…).

Unfortunately for OSU, the money aspect is only the first part of a 5 part series. Part 2 discusses how the OSU program cheated academically; Part 3 deals with drug allegations; Part 4 covers how OSU players, especially recruits, were rewarded from sex by their hostess program; and Part 5 of the series handles the fallout of players from a program full of corruption. One may ask why reporters would want to ruin the lives of so many young student-athletes and an entire football program. Sports Illustrated Executive Editor John Wertheim says that:

“We wanted to take a comprehensive look at a big-time program, particularly one that made a rapid ascent. There’s obviously a steady drumbeat of scandal in college sports – improper benefits here; a recruiting violation there – and plenty of rumor and hearsay about the unseemly underbelly. For this piece, we were more about venturing inside the factory and seeing how the sausage is made.”

Thus far, OSU administration have not made any direct statements concerning the article series. However, both head coach Mike Gundy and athletic director Mike Holder spoke briefly to the media in attempts to defend the program. While both men say that they are not aware of any violations occurring under their watch and claim that they run a clean program, they also both make some statements which seem to admit to some bit of wrong-doing:

“I’ll be real honest with you. I know the part that may have involved me. I’m not sure we know it all yet…” — Mike Gundy

“ … I’m going to guess that once we get all the information and we see what’s out there, then our administration and the people inside will look at it and we’ll see where we made mistakes and we’ll try to make ourselves better and we’ll correct it and then we’ll move forward…” — Mike Gundy

“Unfortunately, we’ve got something out there on the horizon that we’re going to have to deal with. I don’t know a lot of specifics. I know enough to be very concerned.” — Mike Holder

” Our goal is to separate fact from fiction, and then we can start dealing with it…. And at the end of the day, we’ll come to some conclusions, and we’ll deal with those. We’ll prop ourselves back up, polish up that OSU brand and move on down the road.” — Mike Holder

” …’You’re not going to like what you hear. It’s going to be a rough few days, but our hope is that you may not be proud about what’s being said about you, but we hope to make you proud of the way that we deal with it and how we stood up, didn’t make any excuses and didn’t try to cover anything up.’”– Mike Holder

In reading the quotations from above, one has a hard time deciding if the administration at OSU believes themselves innocent or guilty. Both Mike Gundy and Mike Holder seem to be willing and ready to admit guilt to something and to not “cover anything up”. With an article series this indicting and thorough, one would hope that they would just fold before the river card turns and they lose more than they can afford.

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  • Stuar

    What do you mean fold before the river card turns? Are you assuming quilt or are you saying they are admitting quilt? or should admit quilt???? very confusing….

  • Kyle

    thorough? just because it’s 5 series doesn’t make it thorough and true. If you did more of a “thorough” research you would realize there is more then meets the eye. Specifically, almost all the individuals interviewed are disgruntled athletes who were kicked out of the program. The investigative reporter, Thayer Evans, is a shady individual who has been fired from previous employers for erroneous reporting. And given the fact that dozens of previous OSU players have already come out and adamantly denied any wrong doing by the university makes me suspicious of the legitimacy of the article.

    Saying Gundy and Holder should “fold before the river turns” is just flat out amateur.

    • Reality

      Don’t delude yourself — this stuff happens all the time. You also have to remember that not all athletes are treated equally. Yes, some may come forth and say that it doesn’t happen and that could indeed be true for them. However, they have no idea what is going on with other athletes in the very same locker room. Every athlete is recruited individually and in a different manner.

      I have been around major programs in the SEC and I know for a fact this stuff happens all the time. Start investigating and talking to the alumni, teachers, and strippers from Atlanta and you will find all your answers.

      • Edmo

        I am sure Cam Newton’s dad took him to Auburn for free after saying 200k wasn’t enough at Miss. State. I am positive Les Miles quit doing the crap he did at OSU upon arriving at LSU, and absolutely sure Saban runs a clean program. Well not really

        • Hmm

          Alabama’s whole team is massive. It is bigger than a pro team. I dare you to walk in unannounced and test them for steroids. You won’t like the results.

          Trust me. Every program is dirty. Every single one of them.

  • Reality

    This stuff happens at all major university programs. Anyone who has ever been close to or involved in major programs knows it happens.

    College football players at major schools are not student-athletes. They are there to play sports. It is a huge business. Athletes are passed by teachers or get answers to tests from tutors or through the greek system. Alumni pay the athletes under the table or set them up with easy high paying jobs where they are also paid under the table. Cheerleaders, strippers, and hookers are used all the time to attract athletes. Heck, many of the girls do it for free just because of the thrill or the possibility of landing a future professional athlete. Parents are moved or given jobs in the community the athlete goes to school in. Players are so large now that college teams are as big as pro teams — a lot of this is from steroids. What you think our kids have access to every drug in the world, but draw the line at drugs that make them stronger and look better?

    Come on people — stop being so naive. We see the evidence all around us and logically we know that there is no way an athlete really can be a student, yet we try to convince ourselves that this stuff isn’t happening. People don’t deal with reality — they want to deal with a dream world that doesn’t exist.

    It is kind of like the Patriot Acts and the NSA. We just stick our heads in the sand and convince ourselves that all of it is necessary and that the government just isn’t that bad and has our best interests at heart. What a delusion.

    • Hoppy

      Well said! I’ve been trying to explain all of this to naive people for years.

    • Kyle

      Andre Sexton
      “From the time I was recruited to my graduation not once was I offered money to play. Oklahoma State’s coaching staff, strength team, and academic services help put me in the right positions to succeed on/off the field, and once my career was done ! When I needed help in any field I had a supporting cast I could rely on. I graduated with my degree and have moved on to the next stage of my life like many former players successfully.
      This article is focusing on extremely small group of players that were given an opportunity to continue their football dream, but feel cheated and refuse to accept responsibility for mistakes they have made. What better time for a group of disgruntled players that left the university for one reason or another to talk down on an amazing university that has worked the right way to put itself on the map and help young student athletes succeed not only on the field but in life.”

      That’s Andre Sexton, a former player for OSU who was quite successful as an athlete. now tell us again how college athletes don’t go to college for a degree. Andre isnt the only one, there is posts like this everywhere.

      Im not saying players weren’t getting paid, but SI is portraying this as a widespread issue and I don’t think it is. a lot if these players who conducted interviews were released from the program for misconduct, by Mike Gundy himself. Clearly there is a hidden agenda by Thayer Evans, and anyone whos been keepin tabs on this guy knows it.

      • Reality

        Kyle, everything I wrote about I have seen at several universities. Don’t even get me started at what is happening behind the scenes at the high school level.

        At the high school level, steroids is a big problem in places such as Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Heck, readers digest even wrote an article about this. We read about stories of kids being passed or held back in order to help them make it to college team all the time. There are also many stories of colleges using cheerleaders and strippers to sway guys into attending. This is portrayed in every major movie about college athletics. Where do you think they get the ideas? Art simply imitates life.

        What on earth makes you think that colleges will all of sudden do things ethically when high schools aren’t even doing things ethically?

        • Kyle

          colleges are way more under the microscope and have a lot more to lose. Once again, Im not saying everything written in the article is a fallacy, but I have a feeling this was way more isolated then what SI is portraying. taking SI word for word and writing is a really narrow minded approach and only scratches the surface of what the truth probably is. Look into this Thayer Evans guy.. Im telling you he is a shady, shady man. He has already been fired from Fox for falsifying articles so how can we be so quick to take his word? This guy has had a personal vendetta against OSU for quite some time. All I ask is for you to look at the bigger picture, only then you will find true “Reality”. Ill wait until an official investigation has been completed. Until then I stand next to my Alma Mater.

  • http://yahoo david

    Coach Gundy is a MAN…he can handle the truth…like paying your players only closes the gap on amateur vs. pro. College vs. Professional Athlete. Gundy professes he is a man, he will have to show it before he get the axe.

  • Edmo

    Gundy is a man, and more than the moron commenting on him. These allegations are 90% Les Miles who moved on and took his crooked ways with him. When Miles left Gundy kicked off several terrific players who were criminals. One was a previous Oklahoma player of the year. He has built a program of character. Asking disgruntled players who were kicked out of the program and not getting a chance at the NFL by a shady reporter doesn’t really sway me. I am proud to be from OSU and Coach Gundy I support you 100% and feel lucky to have a MAN like you leading and coaching my team

  • Thunderstruck

    First of All Oklahoma state sucks Mike Gundy is a loser.Where there is smoke there is fire.Mike Gundy cussed out a reporter years ago for doing her job.I hope the allegations are true i would love to see OSU go under.They are overrated anyway.Heck they can’t even fly a plane without getting someone killed.If found guilty i hope Gundy and Miles go to prison as well as the rest of the athletic staff.(IT IS WHAT IT IS)

    • Kyle

      crack is one helluva drug

    • http://si.com Sportsfan

      Wow…did you seriously disrespect a school because of two airplane crashes? Being unbiased against the article I have almost lost respect for humanity because of comments like that. Are you part of Al-Qaeda?

    • Jennifer

      Your plane crash comment is vile. Second, I went to OU and OSU does not “suck” in the slightest. They have had some much deserved success and the sooners and other cowboy haters need to get the F over it. DO you think the pilots of those planes went to OSU moron? Your disrespectful comments reflect what is wrong with this country. Too many anonymous, misinformed, imbecilic people with a keyboard. The tragedies at OSU were horrific and I apologize to all the families of the victims. Please know that most people do not have “thunderstruck” aka sooner fan’s attitude or beliefs.

    • Zach

      Thunderstruck, your first sentence shows you just how ignorant you really are. If Oklahoma State sucks and if Gundy is such a loser, then why did the guys, who write for a nationally historic sports magazine like Sports Illustrated, begin by stating this?:

      “We wanted to take a comprehensive look at a big-time program, particularly one that made a rapid ascent,” says Wertheim. “There’s obviously a steady drumbeat of scandal in college sports – improper benefits here; a recruiting violation there – and plenty of rumor and hearsay about the unseemly underbelly. For this piece, we were more about venturing inside the factory and seeing how the sausage is made.”

      I guess the guys at SI are just idiots for thinking that OSU made an ascent to a “national powerhouse” because of all of the losing and sucking that the OSU football program has done over the past 8 seasons? They are “overrated” anyway? I guess if winning a BCS bowl makes you overrated, okay.

      What you are overlooking is that the article claims to have looked into “how the sausage was made”, yet it makes ZERO mention of the $165 million dollars that Boone Pickens donated. THAT is why OSU got better. I don’t even thinks Gundy is that good of a coach, because I think there are a lot of coaches that could win that many games given that much money to support their programs. However, I think the article is absolute crap because it was obviously done to have maximum damaging impact (5-part series??, give me a break!!).

      Here is a FACT for you, not just “allegations”. Alabama, a team that has won 3 national titles in 4 years, has cheated their whole way to the top this past decade. FACT: Alabama forfeited 21 victories in the 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons. WHY? Cheating. That is right, look it up and do your homework. Nick Satan came along in 2007 and just so happens to win 3 titles in 4 years right after they considered the DEATH PENALTY for Alabama? You think it was all clean and no one cheated? Bull$h!T!! They got caught cheating within the last decade. IF ANYONE HAS MADE A “RAPID ASCENSION” I would say it was Alabama, and we all know for a FACT they were cheating. Oh, by the way, another FACT for you: in the 2011-2012, the season that OSU should have been playing for a national championship instead, Alabama got to play for a title when they DIDN’T EVEN WIN THEIR DIVISION, much less their own conference.

      Other than boxing and the NBA, NCAA football is the most corrupt sport in the world, and money is the driving force behind all of it. It has been proven that 5 of the last 10 national championships have been won by teams tied to cheating either right before or directly after they won. Those teams would be USC (Reggie Bush, Pete Carrol and company), Auburn (Cam Newton and his daddy getting paid) and then Alabama… You must be a huge OU homer to make such callous statements about OSU. And guess what, OU was paying its players all through the 70s and 80s… Remember Marcus Dupree? Oh yeah, that’s right, OU won national championships in 1975, 1976, and 1985 (Bosworth and steroids…) .

      So get your facts straight “Thunderstruck”, because the reality is that if OSU was cheating and doing it right, they would have won a national title by now, and they sure as hell wouldn’t be losing games like they did this past weekend to teams like West Virginia with a crappy run game, bad defense and a horrible special teams play. As for your comment about the planes: that reveals just how pathetic of a person you are.