Oklahoma State football: Sports Illustrated claims football trumped academics, work done for players

Football above all else -- that's what the second story in Sports Illustrated's five-piece investigation says is the law of the land for Oklahoma State University's football program.

READ PART TWO (http://bit.ly/19HncXv)

Despite the motto "Academics first, football second" from then-coach Les Miles, SI sites more than a dozen former players who say they participated in some form of academic misconduct so they could stay eligible.

Part 2 in the series, released Wednesday, claims tutors and university staffers often did the players' school work and even provided test answers before exams.

RELATED: SI releases part 1 of OSU investigation (http://bit.ly/16hyj9N)

SI claims some players were given passing grades despite doing little to no work.

When Miles gave his speeches on football and academics, SI says he would hold up two fingers as he said "Academics first," and he would hold up one as he said "Football second."

The article quotes former offensive lineman Doug Bond, who played for the Cowboys from 2002 to 2004, saying, "You heard his words but you saw what he was doing."

SI says Miles' philosophy continued when Mike Gundy took the helm in 2004.

RELATED: OSU reacts to Sports Illustrated article (http://bit.ly/17Q5Aay)

Several former players and assistants are sited in the article, claiming there were players who they believed were functionally illiterate.

The second piece in the series also calls into question an honor bestowed upon now-Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.  He was named second-team academic All-Big 12 in 2008; though, the article claims former teammates and assistant coaches said during interviews Bryant rarely attended class and had his work completed by tutors.

Bryant denied the allegations to SI and declined further comment.

The five-piece series is the result of a 10-month investigation by the publication, which 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.

RELATED: OSU allegations trouble football fans (http://bit.ly/17kTvek)

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