T Boone Pickens "Disappointed" in SI Article


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Sports Illustrated (SI) has been investigating Oklahoma State football for a year now, and on Tuesday they released part one of their findings. SI reports that between 2001 and at least 2011, the Oklahoma State Cowboys broke NCAA rules when players received payment for performance from coaches and boosters.

Since release of this information, all those related to the school have been up in arms. One in particular is famous financier T. Boone Pickens, who also happens to be an alum and booster of Oklahoma State. Pickens was not implicated in the article, and even in a written statement he did not deny the allegations of the school, but said it didn't reflect the present-day Oklahoma State Cowboys football program.

In his statement he said:

"This series is not reflective of Oklahoma State University today. Many of their sensational allegations go back a decade ago.

There have been wholesale changes at the school in recent years in leadership and facilities. During that time, I have given more than $500 million to OSU, for athletics and academics. Have I gotten my money’s worth? You bet. We have a football program that has a commitment to principled sportsmanship. They understand the expectations we, as fans and supporters, have for the program. We have an incredible and growing fan base, and a loyal group of alums that believe in the character of our players, coaches and administrators.

But I do welcome this scrutiny. If people take the time, it’s an opportunity to better understand where Oklahoma State is today, not a decade ago. It’s a different university today. It’s a better university. If there are areas where we need to improve, we’ll do it."

Pickens didn't just voice his "disappointment" with SI in a written statement, he also took to his official Twitter account.

He even made a video explaining how upset he was with the article.

Many players who received payment for performance or sham jobs came forward with their accounts of what happened. Some even named other players who received money. But it seems some of those same players interviewed are disputing what was written and what they were quoted as saying in the article.

In the article, former linebacker and defensive end Rodrick Johnson told SI "it was openly discussed among teammates that DeForest set rewards of between $100 to $500 for a big play on special teams." Johnson took to his Facebook to deny what the article reported he said.

Former quarterback Tatum Bell, who is mentioned in the article, says he was never even contacted by someone from SI.

Another former quarterback in the article, Aso Pogi, is upset with his misrepresentation in the article.

So now it's a matter of what the actual truth is. Are these players changing their tune because of the backlash they're receiving, or did the interviewer skew the information? We may never know, but even if there is truth to the payment-for-performance, NBC Sports writer Chris Huston believes "it probably won’t amount to much more than a public relations hit for the school."

Image via Pickens' official Twitter account.