Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Oklahoma State booster criticizes allegations through statement

Energy entrepreneur Pickens takes part in a panel discussion titled "The End of Energy Scarcity?" at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California

One of the country's most prolific athletic boosters is not happy with the allegations made against his school by Sports Illustrated.

Oil magnate T. Boone Pickens, a multi-billionaire, has donated more than $500 million to the school for both academics and athletics over the years. His financial support has carried so much weight that OSU's football stadium is even named after him.

On Tuesday, Pickens released a statement criticizing Sports Illustrated's report that exposes the Cowboys program of wrongdoing, calling it "disappointing" and "not reflective" of the university today.

There’s one word I have for the Sports Illustrated reporting on Oklahoma State University: Disappointing.

This series is not reflective of Oklahoma State University today. Many of their sensational allegations go back a decade ago.

There have been wholesale changes at the school in recent years in leadership and facilities. During that time, I have given more than $500 million to OSU, for athletics and academics. Have I gotten my money’s worth? You bet. We have a football program that has a commitment to principled sportsmanship. They understand the expectations we, as fans and supporters, have for the program. We have an incredible and growing fan base, and a loyal group of alums that believe in the character of our players, coaches and administrators.

But I do welcome this scrutiny. If people take the time, it’s an opportunity to better understand where Oklahoma State is today, not a decade ago. It’s a different university today. It’s a better university. If there are areas where we need to improve, we’ll do it.

Which leads me back to my disappointment with Sports Illustrated, and their failure to ask the most important question of all: What’s happening at OSU today?

The report details allegations dating back to 2001 when current LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles held the same title at OSU. It also includes allegations from as recently as 2011 under current coach Mike Gundy.

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