STILLWATER - Many Oklahoma State University fans are stunned by allegations that OSU football players were paid, their grades were changed and that recruits received sexual favors.
A five-part series across Sports Illustrated platforms will allege that misconduct in the OSU football program occurred between 2001 and 2007, according to the organization.
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The investigation, titled "The Dirty Game," is the result of 10 months of digging, according to SI executive editor John Wertheim.
“We wanted to take a comprehensive look at a big-time program, particularly one that made a rapid ascent,” he said in the waning hours leading up to the first installment's release. “There's obviously a steady drumbeat of scandal in college sports – improper benefits here; a recruiting violation there – and plenty of rumor and hearsay about the unseemly underbelly. For this piece, we were more about venturing inside the factory and seeing how the sausage is made."
Part 1, scheduled for 8 a.m. Tuesday, is expected to look at improper payment of players, specifically allegations concerning an alleged bonus system for on-the-field play.
Below are descriptions given by SI of each of the five series, including when each is slated to become available.
-- 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. (Read part 1 here: http://bit.ly/18RE8rZ)
-- 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.
OSU Vice President of Athletics Mike Holder took a hard stance against the possible violations Monday.
"We are shocked by the allegations raised about our football program ... We will not tolerate any violations that comprise our pursuit of excellence," he said.
Read the full statement here. (bit.ly/17Q5Aay)
OSU fans say they are deeply troubled by the claims.
"It's never good to see your program mentioned in a negative light, especially when you go to school there. Nobody wants to see that about your school and future alma mater," OSU senior Mitch Gastelum said.
The university says the allegations do not involve any current coaches or players. SI, however, states OSU's "extreme measures" continued after Mike Gundy took over as the team's head coach in 2005.
OSU officials said once the article is published, it will investigate the accusations with the assistance of an independent investigator.
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