EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSports Illustrated Articles Allege Oklahoma State Corruption; Media Outlets Say WVU Assistant Coach To Be Named
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Associated Press
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: GMA, Josh Elliot
Reported: Sep. 9, 2013 8:35 AM EDT
Updated: Sep. 10, 2013 1:21 PM EDT
Morgantown, Monongalia County , West Virginia
Allegations of corruption against a college football program are coming to light in a series of articles from Sports Illustrated. The magazine calls in to question the Oklahoma State University Cowboys and former players are blowing the whistle.
The year-long investigation by Sports Illustrated calls in to question one of the country's most storied college football programs -- the Oklahoma State University Cowboys.
Among the allegations wide-spread attempts in previous years to skirt NCAA rules in order for the team to get ahead.
In the first installment released Tuesday, Sports Ilustrated said, "Former coaches and boosters paid certain players as a way of rewarding good performance on the field . . . that some players were given better grades to maintain eligibility and that the policy for drug use was inconsistently applied."
The Associated Press has said the Oklahoman reported former assistant coach Joe DeForest is accused in the story of running a bonus program, paying players for big plays as recently as 2011. DeForest now works as an assistant coach at West Virginia for head coach Dana Holgorsen, who is a former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.
Executive Director of Sports Illustrated Jon Wertheim talked about the magazine's reports and the football program.
"You have a successful program that got good very fast, but there is an underbelly to that," Wertheim said.
Sports Illustrated said it interviewed 64 former players along with an unnamed former assistant coach who reportedly said, "I knew this day was coming and today is that day. It was a matter of time."
Wertheim said different players probably have different motivations, but overall he thinks "there was a real collective sense that the system had used them."
Oklahoma State said the majority of the alleged incidents happened between 2001 and 2007, some former coaches and players who are named in the article are now denying the allegations.
Meanwhile, the school's president says it doesn't condone or tolerate improper behavior and will investigate the accuracy of the allegations and take all appropriate action.
OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder said the school's goal is to "separate fact from fiction and then we can start dealing with it."
Wertheim said he "Hopefully it gives people a portrait of what big time college sports can be. You would be naive to think similar scenarios aren't playing out elsewhere," Wertheim said.
Oklahoma State University said Saturday that Sports Illustrated has informed the school it plans to publish a series of articles about alleged misconduct in the university's football program starting in 2001.
The university said in a statement that Sports Illustrated outlined allegations involving inappropriate activities and actions, the majority of which occurred from 2001-07. The school said the allegations outlined don't involve any current coaches or players. LSU coach Les Miles coached Oklahoma State from 2001-04. Mike Gundy took over in 2005 and is still the Cowboys coach.
The university said it has contacted the NCAA to advise it of "the accusations described," although the school did not go into detail about the allegations in its statement on Saturday. The university said Sports Illustrated didn't provide all of the specifics of the accusations.
"Oklahoma State University is deeply troubled by these claims. We will investigate the accuracy of the allegations and take all appropriate action," University President Burns Hargis said in the statement. "We do not condone or tolerate improper conduct in our athletic programs. OSU requires everyone affiliated with the university to follow the rules and adhere to the highest ethical standards."
University Vice President of Athletics Mike Holder said they're shocked by the allegations about the football program.
"We take the allegations seriously," Holder said in the statement. "Whether they have merit or not, we don't know. But we will find out."
Oklahoma State said Sports Illustrated notified the school of the planned series on Aug. 28.
The Oklahoman reported Saturday, citing an unidentified source, that the allegations include payments to players from boosters and academic improprieties. The Oklahoman also reported former assistant coach Joe DeForest is accused in the story of running a bonus program, paying players for big plays as recently as 2011.
DeForest now works as an assistant coach at West Virginia for head coach Dana Holgorsen, who is a former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.
West Virginia released a statement that did not mention DeForest.
"West Virginia University is aware of an upcoming investigative reporting series in Sports Illustrated which-while focused on another institution-includes allegations against one of our current assistant football coaches regarding his time of employment at his previous Institution," athletic director Oliver Luck said. "Upon learning of the pending investigative report, WVU launched an internal review to ensure the coach's full compliance to NCAA rules while at West Virginia. The NCAA has also been contacted. While our assistant football coach has denied the allegations, it is the right thing to do to look into the matter and review practices here."
After LSU beat UAB Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La., Miles said the magazine also contacted him about the coming story.
"I don't know of any improprieties while I was the coach there," Miles said. "I can tell you this: We have always done things right. I really enjoyed my time at Oklahoma State. I felt like I met a lot of wonderful people and we made our football team better. We worked hard. It has never been a place where you needed to cheat to have success."
The university said Sports Illustrated senior writer George Dohrmann and executive editor B.J. Schecter came to Stillwater this past week to provide details about the series.
On the field, Oklahoma State beat UTSA 56-35 at San Antonio.
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