The publication interviewed 30 former players who said they used drugs daily and named 20 others they said were habitual users. SI says many players got high before practice and games.
Some players, like William Bell, sold drugs, according to SI. Bell, a defensive end who became a Cowboy as a freshman in 2004, was interviewed for the article and said he made between $300 and $400 a week selling marijuana, though he says he also sold methamphetamine.
SI claims there is a four-strike rule in the program -- a first positive drug test results in no penalty, a second leads to immediate suspension of 10 percent of the regular season, a third an immediate suspension of 50 percent of the season and a fourth results in a player being kicked off the team -- and coaches tolerated and sometimes enabled recreational drug use as long as players were performing on the field.
SI acknowledges many players left or were kicked out of the program due to issues related to academics or drug use.
Among the accusations, SI reports a drug counselor for the program, Joel Tudman, had no formal training in drug counseling, and though his biography on the athletic department's website indicated he received a double master's in health and counseling, he only acquired a single master's degree in Health, Kinesiology and Sports Studies from Texas A&M-Commerce.
In response to part three of the series, OSU assistant athletic director Gavin Lang said, "...we're not going to comment on the story at this time."
But former OSU football players are reacting to the article via social media.
Former OSU safety Markelle Martin posted several messages criticizing the article, saying in one post "They picked the wrong school to mess with. #OkState has a strong fan base, proud alumni & athletic program that's on the rise, all sports."
The five-piece series is the result of a 10-month investigation. SI provided the following descriptions on each of the stories:
-- 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.