WHILE we've all enjoyed the
train wreck stunning exposé Sports Illustrated has released bit by scintillating bit this week, everyone's favorite network has suddenly become a big fan of the down-but-not-out Oklahoma State University Cowboys. ESPN's Brett McMurphy this afternoon released a fairly strong rebuke of the SI series, noting several factual errors in the reporting based on records obtained from the University.
Among their findings? SI's George Dorhmann told CBS Sports' Doug Gottlieb that former Cowpoke safety Fath' Carter had two degrees from Oklahoma State, when school records indicate that he has never graduated from the school. Carter was a central figure in the magazine's five-part series alleging financial, academic and other misdeeds (raise your hand if you can't wait for tomorrow's segment on sex).
Oh, and how about this for solid vetting of sources:
Of the 12 former players who made allegations or admitted guilt to SI, nine either were kicked out of school for failed drug tests, dismissed from the program, transferred for playing time issues or quit. Of those, several had criminal records, the Daily O'Collegian and Tulsa World reported. SI did not mention those dismissals or arrests.
Not to be outdone by the Bristol-based mothership, however, Deadspin released its own piece criticizing the journalistic quality of SI's big splash. Many of the former players quoted in the series by former Oklahoma Sooners' beat reporter Thayer Evans have now claimed they were misquoted in the story.
I think many of us assumed - call me cynical - that nothing would ever come of this story, not the least reason of which being that it purported to splash mud on the boots of former OSU head coach Les Miles, now firmly ensconced with the Bayou Bengals of the SEC, I mean, Louisiana State University. Given the apparently shoddy reporting done by Dohrmann and Evans, I'd say we were right.
Postscript: Here's the sad thing... Even if some of the allegations in the SI piece are true, and I suspect there is at least a kernel of truth somewhere in all the nonsense, assigning hack reporters with at least one glaringly obvious conflict of interest to undertake a report of this magnitude is the very height of journalistic malpractice. Even if the story is accurate (and it now appears that a significant portion of it is based on the word of drug-addled malcontents with an axe to grind), by putting Dorhmann and Evans' names on it, it reeks to high heaven, and the baby will be tossed out with the soiled bathwater.