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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