The Oklahoma State football program has finally risen to the point where it is competitive with Big 12 royalty — Texas and hated in-state rival Oklahoma. However, a massive expose featured in an upcoming Sports Illustrated is alleging that the Cowboys’ rise to prominence was only achieved through unsavory – and illegal – measures.
SI has not published its full report on its investigative findings. However, The Oklahoman has uncovered several details. The investigation reaches all the way back to the days Les Miles was in charge, and mainly spans the 2001-2007 seasons.
* Coaches and boosters paying athletes, including violations ranging from paying for jobs not performed, overpaying for jobs and strictly paying players for performance.
Longtime assistant Joe DeForest is accused of running a bonus program – paying players for specific plays – as recently as 2011.
* A environment of academic impropriety, from players not attending class to grade changing to tutors doing work for players.
* Widespread drug abuse and a drug policy that isn’t uniformly administered.
* Hostesses in the Orange Pride program providing sex to recruits.
Athletic director Mike Holder expressed shock in a press release.
“We are shocked by the allegations raised about our football program. We take the allegations seriously. Whether they have merit or not, we don’t know. But we will find out.
“Our athletic department understands the high expectations OSU president Burns Hargis and the OSU board of regents have set for us. Our coaches and staff understand we will not tolerate any violations that compromise our pursuit of excellence, the highest of ethical standards, and full compliance with NCAA rules and regulations.
“We are committed to playing by the rules on and off the field. We strive to be a source of pride for our fans, our university and the Big 12 Conference.”
Senior associate athletic director Kevin Klintworth said that “no eligibility or NCAA concerns regarding current staff or players” is in any sort of jeopardy.
It will be interesting, however, to see if the SI investigation forces the NCAA to take a deeper look at the how the program is being run.