Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Details of Oklahoma State investigation released

The Oklahoma State Cowboys football team appears to be in a world of trouble as Sports Illustrated is about to launch a series of five segments, tabbed "The Dirty Game," detailing disturbing allegations about its program.

The series, which launched Tuesday morning, is based off a 10-month investigation that included interviews with more than 60 players who played for the Cowboys from 2001 to 2010, as well as current and former staff members.

According to the report, Oklahoma State showed "an increased willingness to cut corners and bend rules" while trying to build a winning football program. The allegations include a pay-for-play system rewarding players for performance on the field, academic misconduct, recreational drug use, and hosts having sex with recruits on campus visits.
- 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.

-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.

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