In an ongoing investigation into the sports program at Oklahoma State, Sports Illustrated posted its third installment of a five-part investigative series releasing information that drug use and “even some drug dealing” went “largely unexamined, unchecked and untreated” at Oklahoma State from 2001 through last season.
The series called, “The Dirty Game” takes an in-depth look into Oklahoma State’s program. Even some former players are speaking out:
“Drugs were everywhere,” former linebacker Donnell Williams said.
Among the violations were academic misconduct and cash given to players by coaches and boosters. Additionally, the SI report revealed that marijuana was the drug of choice. From USA Today Sports:
One player on the Cowboys’ 2001 team told SI he made $100 a week selling marijuana. A player on the 2006 team spoke of bringing “pounds” of the drug from out of state and selling to teammates and OSU students.
In total, 30 members of the football team between 2000 and 2011 admitted to using drugs while with the program. These players identified another 20 ex-teammates, “including some of the program’s biggest names,” the SI report said.
Former players interviewed admitted to other drugs being used including cocaine, hydrocodone pills and codine syrup. According to the article, those caught using still got an “extraordinary perk,”
per SI: Those players who were in the program could continue to use the drug without penalty.
These allegations are shocking, to say the least–but not new. Allegations of impropriety at the bigger college levels, including one right now at the University of Alabama are not surprising and further make us question whether the NCAA needs to change it’s view and policies on college players. These schools rake in millions of dollars through their football programs, and because of that, the pressure to perform and attract top players make them more susceptible to violating the rules that many feel should have changed a long time ago.
It is interesting to note that ESPN released information that rebutted or seemed to make light of the allegations in SI’s investigation. It should also be noted that ESPN has a huge contract to air college games. ESPN isn’t alone in it’s questioning. Several former players said the information gathered is not credible:
“I’ve read the first story that came out and literally I laughed throughout the entire thing,” former quarterback Brandon Weeden said, via The Plain Dealer. The former players they interviewed “were not very good sources to question because they are kids that got kicked off the team for drugs or for whatever it might be,” Weeden said.
Former quarterback Aso Pogi said his comments were “spun” and he didn’t know he was being interviewed:
Pogi also told the Tulsa World the “biggest thing about the interview was I didn’t know it was an interview.”
“But it’s funny what was printed can be twisted and that’s what I meant that it was taken out of context,” Pogi said. “If it was being recorded, which I have no idea if it was or not, you can clearly hear me say, ‘oh my goodness, this was going on? Man, whoa.’ Because I never saw it. You can completely hear my statements of shock. And everything that was said, it was said by him.
‘We’ve got reliable sources.’ And he named off some people that are in prison now and said ‘we went in spoke to them in prison.’ And I’m just like ‘whoa, he is in prison?’ You can hear me say ‘wow, he’s in prison?’ He’s just going off on different things that were alleged about the program. And I was kind of taking it in. But once he asked me, I was very definitive that I never saw anything like that.”
Former running back Seymore Shaw retracted his statements after his interview in segments one and two were published.
“These are not my true feelings of the university or the football program, but in my opinion, those of a reporter so desperately looking for anything to support his agenda. I am deeply saddened that my close friends and people I consider to be like family were targeted in this article. I am hoping to rebuild trust and friendships with those who were truly hurt.”
The fourth and fifth installments of the investigation will look at the hostess program and how players were dismissed after they were deemed no longer useful to the program.
It would be good for players, current or former, to get a little media 1-0-1 training. Just because you retract a statement doesn’t mean you didn’t say it. It also doesn’t mean you didn’t mean it. If you are talking to a reporter, you have to say ‘off the record’ BEFORE you speak; it doesn’t count after.
I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I believe there was drug use, that some coaches and staff may have known about and that players benefited from gifts and cash while they were in the program. While speculation about the reports exists, there’s enough benefactors for and against it to leave you to questioning.
For me, the bottom line is that sports is big business, even in college–and all that comes with it.
What do you think?
Your Jersey Girlfriend,