Oklahoma State reacts to forthcoming Sports Illustrated article
3:47 PM, Sep 7, 2013
10:26 AM, Sep 11, 2013
Sports Illustrated will soon publish a series of articles detailing misconduct within the Oklahoma State Football program, dating back to 2001.
A source tells Channel 2 Sports the investigation will detail improper contact between female 'Hostess group" members who host potential recruits and academic misconduct, among other actions that paint an unflattering picture of the program.
Saturday, OSU issued this statement:
Sports Illustrated has informed Oklahoma State University that it plans to publish a series of articles beginning this week about alleged misconduct in the OSU football program starting in 2001. Sports Illustrated advised that the articles are based on interviews with former players, coaches and staff members.
In meetings with OSU officials, Sports Illustrated outlined allegations involving inappropriate activities and actions, the vast majority of which occurred between 2001 and 2007. The allegations outlined do not involve any current coaches or players.
"Oklahoma State University is deeply troubled by these claims. We will investigate the accuracy of the allegations and take all appropriate action," said OSU President Burns Hargis. "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."
Sports Illustrated did not provide OSU all the specifics of the accusations, or the names of those it interviewed. And it appeared some of the accusations are based on hearsay. Once the stories are published and OSU has more details, it will investigate them thoroughly with the assistance of an independent investigator. OSU has contacted the NCAA and advised it of the accusations described.
OSU Vice President of Athletics Mike Holder said, "We are shocked by the allegations raised about our football program. We take the allegations seriously. Whether they have merit or not, we don't know. But we will find out.
"Our athletic department understands the high expectations OSU President Burns Hargis and the OSU Board of Regents have set for us. Our coaches and staff understand we will not tolerate any violations that compromise our pursuit of excellence, the highest of ethical standards, and full compliance with NCAA rules and regulations," Holder said.
He continued, "We are committed to playing by the rules on and off the field. We strive to be a source of pride for our fans, our university and the Big 12 Conference."
In closing, Holder expressed confidence in Coach Gundy and the staff and their commitment to the highest standards. "Our most important mission is doing all we can to prepare our student athletes to be successful and productive citizens throughout their lives," Holder said.
Sports Illustrated notified OSU officials on August 28 of the planned series, which they said has been in the works for almost a year. Senior writer George Dohrmann and executive editor B.J. Schecter came to Stillwater the week of September 2 to provide details of the series and said reporter Thayer Evans also was part of the reporting team.
The articles are expected to be published beginning early next week.