Not sure if “shit storm” is an industry PR term, but it would appear that Oklahoma State is about to enter just that. Depending on when you read this, Sports Illustrated has already blown the lid off of numerous allegations against the Cowboys athletic departments. The cocktail includes, but is not limited to, paying players, turning blind eyes towards drug and sex abuse, and fixing grades for players.
The school’s AD apologizing in advance is the best possible move here. Per ABC News, Mike Holder showed all kinds of remorse on behalf of his football team, and their representing of the Big 12.
“I apologize to all the athletic directors in the conference for what’s about to happen, for what’s about to be said about a member institution,” Holder said at a news conference without taking questions. “That reflects on everyone, all our brothers and peers, we’re very remorseful about that.”
“Unfortunately, we’ve got something out there on the horizon that we’ll have to deal with,” Holder said. “I don’t know a lot of specifics. I know a little bit. I know enough to be very concerned. As the athletic director and an alumnus of the university, I don’t want it to be true. We pride ourselves on doing things the right way around here.”
Not that anybody really cares about the sorrow, but the sooner the State powers that be get on the same page with the NCAA, the better for the program.
Strap yourselves in for a week or two of coverage from Sports Illustrated, ESPN and Fox Sports. Look for CNN to publish a “Where Is The Integrity Of Our College Football Teams?” story or two. Speaking of SI, the iconic publication released their first of five installments in “The Dirty Game” detailing the reported improprieties pieced together by senior writers George Dohrmann and Thayer Evans. The research was compiled through a 10-month investigation with over 60 players from 2001-2010.
Part 1: Money (On SI.com Tuesday, 9/10 and in the 9/16/13 SI issue): SI finds that OSU used a bonus system orchestrated by an assistant coach whereby players were paid for their performance on the field, with some stars collecting $500 or more per game. In addition, the report finds that OSU boosters and at least two assistant coaches funneled money to players via direct payments and a system of no-show and sham jobs. Some players say they collected more than $10,000 annually in under-the-table payouts. (Link)
Part 2: Academics (On SI.com Wednesday, 9/11): Widespread academic misconduct, which included tutors and other OSU personnel completing coursework for players, and professors giving passing grades for little or no work, all in the interest of keeping top players eligible.
Part 3: Drugs (On SI.com Thursday, 9/12): OSU tolerated and at times enabled recreational drug use, primarily through a specious counseling program that allowed some players to continue to use drugs while avoiding penalties. The school’s drug policy was selectively enforced, with some stars going unpunished despite repeated positive tests.
Part 4: Sex (On SI.com Friday, 9/13): OSU’s hostess program, Orange Pride, figured so prominently in the recruitment of prospects that the group more than tripled in size under Miles. Both Miles and Gundy took the unusual step of personally interviewing candidates. Multiple former players and Orange Pride members say that a small subset of the group had sex with recruits, a violation of NCAA rules.
Part 5: The Fallout (On SI.com Tuesday, 9/17, and in the 9/23/13 SI issue): SI finds that many players who were no longer useful to the football program were cast aside, returning to worlds they had hoped to escape. Some have been incarcerated, others live on the streets, many have battled drug abuse and a few have attempted suicide.
There’ll undoubtedly be debates about whether or not the Cowboy football team deserves the death penalty, depending on what is really being unearthed here.
We’ve all been here before.