Sports Illustrated Unloads on Oklahoma State: Part One

By DJ Byrnes on September 10, 2013 at 9:49a

Old friend George Dohrmann has put on his Dick Tracey cap and has spent the last 10 months investigating Oklahoma State football. The allegations, which will be dropped in different segments (Money, Academics, Drugs, Sex and the Fallout) will be released every day until Friday, with the final piece coming in next week's copy of Sports Illustrated. At first glance, these allegations appear pretty explosive and span over a decade and cover multiple coaching staffs. (We've come a long way from fixed raffles.) 

Multiple players from multiple years allege they received payment for jobs they didn't do, work they didn't do, and for on-field performances. Sometimes cash was paid in an envelope immediately after a game, or sometimes it was stuffed in a new pair of socks the players found the next day in their locker. It was a rampant program and quite obvious to anyone with their eyes opened and their brain connected to their spine.

It appears problems started when Les Miles sauntered onto campus:

Miles took a more hospitable approach after he arrived in 2001 from the Dallas Cowboys. According to several players, boosters were permitted in the locker room; they were often on team flights and bus trips; they turned up at the training table. The boosters were at their most visible after a big victory, and no win was bigger during Miles's tenure than a 16-13 upset at No. 4 Oklahoma in the teams' regular-season finale of 2001. The Cowboys' victory kept the archrival Sooners from a shot at the BCS title game and sparked OSU's surge under Miles. In the locker room after the game, boosters approached key players and slipped cash into their hands. "We are talking about $500 handshakes," says safety Fath' Carter (2000 to '03), who observed others accepting such payments. (Miles denies that players were paid and says he gave boosters less access to the program, not more.)

Also, Mike "Come After Me! I'm 40!" Gundy's famous rant hasn't aged well either:

One of the signature moments of Gundy's nine seasons as coach came in September 2007, when he staunchly defended quarterback Bobby Reid at a postgame press conference. A columnist for The Oklahoman had questioned Reid's maturity, and Gundy responded by shouting at the writer, "He's not a professional athlete, and he doesn't deserve to be kicked when he's down."

[Linebacker-defensive end Rodrick] Johnson (Reid's onetime roommate), Mickens, Shaw and wide receiver Artrell Woods say Reid was a professional athlete, though. They say that Reid had received money earlier in his career, when he was the starting quarterback. (Now an offensive administrative assistant at Oklahoma State, Reid denies receiving money while a player.) By the time of Gundy's rant in 2007, Reid was no longer a starter, and Woods says Reid's bonus money had dried up. Says Woods, "They cut his ass off."

The whole article is basically a confirmation of any cynic's view of a (probably) rampant problem in college football. (Coaches: if you don't put a firewall between boosters and players, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A BAD TIME if the media gets wind of it.) 

The elephant in the room, obviously, is Les Miles rode this willful ignorance all the way to a monstrous promotion and payday at LSU. Did he suddenly have an awakening about the risk of his shady tactics? Or did he just get more professionally subtle with them? I know which way I'm betting. Regardless, this story is toxic for pretty much everyone involved.

Part II, the Academics, drops tomorrow, and Sports Illustrated has athletes from 2000 to '11 that say they participated in various forms of academic misconduct. 


Comments Show All Comments

DJ Byrnes's picture

I think my favorite part is how all this cheating culminated with a Fiesta Bowl win.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

CUBS's picture

It's all good. Gundy's a Man, hes 40. 

buckeyedude's picture

"Come after me! I'm a man...I'm(a little over)40!"



Kevbo714's picture

If you are named in an SI article by George Dohrmann for NCAA violations, you're gonna have a bad time...

Tom Crean listens to Nickelback...

Hovenaut's picture

I think it's important to recognize the new O$U in town.

Thanks to a M...igan Man who (a-lleg-ed-ly) facilitated the, uh, rise of the program.

droessl's picture

Not a good week to be an Oklahoma State fan. DAMN!  There's a lot less hearsay and a lot more first hand accounts in this story than many others. 

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

Is it wrong for me to be happy that the national media has a different piece of meat to chew on for awhile other than the Buckeyes?  

Yeti's have feelings too.

AndyVance's picture

Yep, 'cause as we know from experience, the knife cuts both ways.

AndyVance's picture

Would that SI had used credible journalists for this expose... Dohrmann is Dohrmann, and Evans has working as an OU beat reporter on his resume, so that at least seems like a conflict of interest someone should have noticed when vetting this assignment.
The preface to the piece noted that the NCAA statute of limitations has passed for many of these alleged violations, which gives the enforcement arm of the league a free pass to do what they did in the case of Auburn, the Money Badger (Johnny Football) and UNC: basically say, "Move along folks, nothing to see here."
Seriously: what SI alleges happened at Ok. State is variations of the same theme alleged in the Newton and Manziel cases, as well as in the UNC "academic scandal," which ended up also including an agent's payment to at least one player. Oh yeah, and what ever happened to "The U?" Nada. And Oregon isn't exactly smarting from their big recruiting scandal.
So, will the NCAA do one damn thing about Les Miles, DeForest and Ok. State? Color me skeptical.

droessl's picture

As we saw with Penn State, the NCAA is willing to break their rules when they feel it necessary. Not that I see them doing the same thing here, but when I think of integrity and consistency, the NCAA is far from my mind. 

703Buckeye's picture

First Ohio State, now Oklahoma State... watch out Oregon State, SI has a vendetta against the OSU's!

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

painterlad's picture

Quick, Cowboys! Join the SEC and all will be forgiven!

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

BTBuckeye's picture

Boone Pickens is gonna have a bad time...welcome to the club Okie State

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Wait a second.....Jim Tressel was fixing waffels for his players? Was bacon involved?

buckeyedude's picture

Did somebunny say "waffles"? God, don't tell Brady!



rkylet83's picture

We'll see how much of this is actually true when the NCAA investigation comes around.  

FitzBuck's picture

And the NCAA will do least to Les Miles.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

cajunbuckeye's picture

Well, Les has been known to make it rain.....

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

razrback16's picture

I just wonder if George Dorkman actually has a source this time, or if it's more la-la-land imagination like last time. In my book the guy has zero credibility and that goes for SI as a whole, so we'll see where this goes. If they actually did some investigation and came up with rock-solid information and sources then cool. It'll be good to see dirty coaches like Les Miles go down.

darbnurb's picture

Prediction:  Media pushes even stronger about how players should be paid and uses this as evidence.  

BuckeyeRick's picture

Take a lesson from the SEC: Deny, Deny, Deny. Fight the NCAA every step of the way and all will be well.

BUCKfutter's picture

so did the players have to give money back after we stomped them in the 04 Alamo bowl?

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

DaiTheFlu's picture

Buck, I seem to remember there being some other type of "scandal" getting discussed and dissected during that game. I can't for the life of me remember what it was, though.

We can't stop here; this is bat country...

BUCKfutter's picture

youre exactly right; it was troy taking the c-note handshake from a booster. missed that game as well as the first game of 2005, and tressel's extensive play of zwick* vs texas in 2005 as a result probably cost us that game.
*or ryan hamby's inability to catch a pass cleanly
*or our inability to tackle a kick returner in the end zone

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

Maestro's picture

Feel badly for some family members who are boosters at Okie State.  The right kind of boosters of course.

vacuuming sucks

brylee's picture

I don't necessarily know the facts of this case, but one would think that after the aTm, the u, auburn, oregon "non-stories," that SI would be very careful what they publish.  I would certainly hope they had receipts (canceled checks), and video of cash exchanging hands.  Sadly, I doubt, very seriously, there is any proof, yet the story was ran anyway.

acBuckeye's picture

Now days, the media can have one unnamed "source" or hear of a rumor, and they consider that enough to publish a story. Whatever gets those page views, man.

Clancy's picture

I don't see anything wrong with what Oklahoma State has done. They are innovators in my eyes. They should have been paying college players twelve years ago and they should be paying them today. Thank you Oklahoma State for leading the way. You are truly leaders of the pay for play movement.  -  (National Media)

BuckeyeChief's picture

Oregon St, your next...

"2014 National with it!!!"

bucknutjeff's picture

As a transplanted Buckeye who currently lives in Stillwater and works for the "other" OSU, I have somewhat of an insiders perspective on this. The basic narrative around here is this: Thayer Evans has an ax to grind regarding OSU (recent history somewhat proves this) and the majority of players interviewed were malcontents and drug users who were kicked off the team (and if Les Miles kicks you off, it must really be serious or you really suck at football). To be fair, most of my coworkers agree that some of this stuff probably did happen to some extent (as it does at most major programs), but that it is being blown out of proportion. I, for one, will withhold judgment about this until further notice. Like they say, consider the source.
P.S. The majority of my coworkers were very respectful to me during the tOSU fiasco, and I shall return the favor.

jedkat's picture

I'm more inclined to wait until the academics/sex/drugs portion are released. Those are the topics I feel will probably be closer to the 'truth' than the good ol' $handshake.

"Can we please stop the message board fighting? I really can't stand the message board fighting..."

"No. You're an idiot, and your posts are terrible."

Idaho Helga's picture

Those will be even harder to prove than $$.

Larryp713's picture

Thanks, Jeff. I have the same instinctual impression, without the insider view. Really, these guys seem to be anxious to talk about how they violated NCAA rules. That is not something I would volunteer unless I wanted to hurt somebody's or some institution's credibility. Not very loyal.



Alice in Aggieland's picture

The "ax to grind" theory seems pretty spot on, especially when half the former players interviewed mentioned that "the other guys" were making more money than they were. 

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

Okie Light is in trouble.

Scuba_Steve's picture

The good news for Les Miles is that he has already had his LSU team vote on whether he should be disciplined by the NCAA for these discretions.  The team decided punishment was not warranted, so Miles is a free man.

One Bad Buckeye's picture

Assuming all of this is true and the NCAA finds the story to be consistent with facts....what then? What happens to OSU/Miles now?

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Most likely...Nada.
The NCAA has a 4 year statute of limitations. Unless there is evidence of  a 'pattern of willful violations' that continued into that four year window, at which point they could also look into the older violations.

BUCKSOMIES's picture

Dag Nabbit, it's UFM's faul't!

chitown buckeye's picture

This is also the same SI that bit on Saban going to Texas and made up "facts" against Ohio State. So I'm not buying anything they are trying to sell. Need to wait to see if something more comes out before I will believe it.  

"I'm having a heart attack!"

armybuckinva's picture

This...........this right here is what a death penalty looks like.  Not OSU, not USC, not Auburn, not even Miami, but this.  So much of this.

DaiTheFlu's picture

Armybuck, are you really willing to make that statement before hearing a single shred of evidence aside from SI's "insider" information? Bad idea.

We can't stop here; this is bat country...

armybuckinva's picture

Yes, I said this what the death penalty looks like.  I didn't even mention Oklahoma State in my post or mention that were guilty of the allegations.  More of a general statement I guess.  If any school were ever to be found guilty of these allegations they would get the death penalty. I remember "tat gate" and people calling for OSU to get the death nail for that.  .

Larryp713's picture

I posted this on another thread, but it bears repeating:
When I read the investigation was led by Dohrmann, and that what instigated it was the sudden success of the Cowpokes, I knew everything that I needed to know. This will be a propaganda hit piece that would make Stalin blush, and SI staff will sink to levels so low that Goebbels wouldn't touch. With that said:
Do I suspect that there have been improper benefits doled out to Ok State players? Yes, and I assume the same for many other top tier FBS schools.
Do I think this "culture" started in 2004 with Les Miles, and that he Gundy have let the boosters run wild? No, it probably has gone on for some time, and their success is mostly attributable to the recruiting $ coaching talents of Miles and Gundy, among others.
Is college football better served by the CNN/SI doctors of hypocrisy launching a 5 series investigation based on any facts, innuendo, rumors, and supposition it can find? No.
Frankly, SI can take their pious crusades and stuff it. It is a worthless rag, and I am glad I flushed my subscription down the toilet awhile ago. Just my thoughts.



chitown buckeye's picture

I tend to agree with most of your points. I feel as if we should wait to cast any real judgment on Okie St until another source or two find something. I remember the damage the SI article did to Ohio State and it was completely false. To this day people still believe the SI article about Ohio State to be true.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

Maestro's picture


vacuuming sucks

bucknutjeff's picture

I concur.
I'd up-vote you as well, but currently don't have enough helmet stickers to do so. A technicality that will shortly be remedied.

Dips's picture

We all know this is going to fall on Meyer somehow.

OurHonorDefend09's picture

How much did they get paid for this play?

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

OSUStu's picture

Boone Pickens will just hire the Newton/Manziel attorneys and the NCAA will wet themselves on the way out the door.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

d5k's picture

When assessing SI's journalistic credibility, look at the Buckshot 2 below this one...

Phutatorius's picture

Given these trends: (1) that more and more and more dollars are circling around college football programs, both sketchy and legit; (2) that we CFB fans of any one team just LOVE to lap up scandals about the other 115+ teams in the FBS; and (3) that the news media has suddenly discovered it can feed the (2) phenomenon by reporting about (1) . . .
I've been wondering for some time now when we'll get to the point where one team's fan blog sends an investigative reporter into a rival team's town -- Tuscaloosa seems like an obvious choice -- to follow its football players around, gather evidence on their violations of NCAA rules, as well as evidence of actual misconduct, and then try to start a fire.
Is that what we just saw from Evans here, but offered through a "respectable" national news outlet?
We all (well, most of us) reject the NCAA's amateur rule as quaint, laughable, exploitative, and hypocritical.  But that rule isn't just a rule: it has normative power.  If it didn't, we wouldn't think it was a victory to substitute the "$" for the "S" whenever possible in a rival team's name.  If it didn't, these stories wouldn't have the kick that they do.
Like it or not, the constant judging and moralizing is a part of college football fandom.  There are only so many days in the year when the sport is actually played.  So what else do we talk about during the downtime?  Recruiting, spring practice, and player and coach misconduct.  I'm susceptible to it: I can accept straight-up that the SEC plays a better level of football, but that medicine goes down better if I flavor it with "yeah: because they oversign, they cheat, they pay players, and they prostitute their coeds to recruits."
Plus, there's no other sport where public opinion and public perception is as important to the determination of championships.  The media affects the games through the polls, which frame postseason matchups, and through exposes and columns that either trigger NCAA enforcement or pressure coaches into self-imposing suspensions on their players, thereby impacting who takes the field on a given Saturday.
It's dog-eat-dog out there.  It's not just the players and coaches in this.  It's the conference officials, boosters, the hostesses, the national columnists, the Herbies, Musburgers, and Mays, and now Yahoo! Sports, SBNation, Deadspin, the fan blogs, and all of us.  It's a frickin' war fought on the gridiron, in high schoolers' living rooms, in conference rooms in Bristol, in print, in the comment section on 11W.  We're all throwing elbows, trying to get an edge.
I wish it was different, but it isn't.  So let's take up a collection, hire some recent OSU grad from the School of Communication, wire him up and put him on the next plane to Alabama.

stubbzzz's picture

Great Post man!  this might be the most thoughtful and articulate post I've read on here.
this might not be totally true, but sometimes I feel like the media is trying to control the outcome on the field by manipulating popular perception, almost like we do when we play NCAA video games or something.  Like they're not content to just observe and report.  they want to be a part of the action themselves.  

Squirrel Master's picture

with the new and more gentle NCAA violations committee (MARK), I believe they will consider this not that big of a deal and will talk to them for about 6 hours before they feel that the whole OKST team should sit for one play, against an FCS team who might still not score on that play!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

40 Degrees North's picture

T. Boone Pickens did release a statement pretty much blasting SI. He is a self-made man who had to fight, a lot, to make himself who he is today. It looks like Oklahoma State is doing what needs to be done: deny, cover-up, and lie to the NCAA. Consequently, they will get off.
Unlike the leadership at the school down the street with their full disclosure and self-reporting, serving themselves on a platter for the media and the NCAA.

Knarcisi's picture

So where with any recent related article has SI merited any credibility?

rdubs's picture

I am not a huge Jason Whitlock fan, but this is an incredible take down of this story.  And hard for me to disagree...

Maestro's picture

Agree and agree and agree

vacuuming sucks

gumtape's picture

Maestro, have you ever been downvoted? I think it would be horrible karma to downvote the dalai lama.

High and tight boo boo

Maestro's picture

Check the Yahoo! thread.  Serial downvoter got me again.  You know what they say, "Gunga Galunga".

vacuuming sucks

Larryp713's picture

Whitlock absolutely destroyed Thayer. Those are almost fighting words. I am glad it wasn't personal! hahaha



GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

I didn't know SI was still a thing. I used to snip all the cool football pictures our of them when I was a kid and hung them on my bedroom walls. True story.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

pjtobin's picture

You must have glued them up. That's why we call ya glue fingers. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

cinserious's picture

I guess now's a good time for that Oklahoma State starting safety to turn his Dallas Cowboys cheerleader back in.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

pjtobin's picture

It seems to me all schools break the rules. It's just who gets caught. I would love to see these schools get the same kinda punishment we got. I know that it ain't gonna happen though. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

causeicouldntgo43's picture

So does this mean Les Miles has a 5 game coaching suspension next year?

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

Gundy's a man.  He can take it.  He's 40

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.