Sports Illustrated's 10-month project investigating the rise of Oklahoma State football will be rolled out over the next two weeks, alleging numerous NCAA violations and commenting on the culture of the Cowboys program under Les Miles and Mike Gundy from 2001-11.
The first installment -- "The Money" -- was posted Tuesday morning. The most notable allegations in the first part of the series included the three ways Oklahoma State funneled money to players.
According to Sports Illustrated, this happened three ways.
- A bonus system, managed by assistant coaches
- Direct payments from boosters
- No-show jobs or sham jobs arranged by coaches and boosters.
Former coach Les Miles and current Cowboys coach Mike Gundy are not linked directly to any payments documented by SI's reporting. However, the report has multiple players discussing, on the record, violations committed by former Cowboys assistants Joe DeForest and Larry Porter.
DeForest, now the associate head coach at West Virginia, and Porter, now the running backs coach at Texas, both issued statements to SI vehemently denying the allegations.
In separate interviews, eight former Oklahoma State players told SI they received cash payments while playing for the Cowboys, naming 29 other teammates in those interviews who did the same.
While several boosters, including the athletic museum curator and a local FCA director, arranged for jobs to overpay players for chores or speaking arrangements, T. Boone Pickens, the most prominent booster in the school's history, was not implicated in any improprieties by SI's report.
Arguably the most damning excerpt for Joe DeForest came from former defensive tackle Brad Girtman. Girtman told SI that he was "getting paid on the low end" compared to his teammates -- who "got monster payments."
For Girtman, quarterback hurries were worth $50, a tackle between $75 to $100 and a sack from $200 to $250. Echoing his teammates' claim, Girtman says the rates were told to him by assistant Joe DeForest, who ran the special teams and secondary under coach Les Miles from 2001 to '04, and was the associate head coach, special teams coordinator and safeties coach under current coach Mike Gundy from 2005 to '11. When players met with their position coaches after games, according to Girtman, DeForest would go from group to group and discuss with the players what they had done. "Your stats definitely dictated how much you were getting," Girtman says.
It should be noted that current coach Mike Gundy kicked Girtman off the team in 2005, his first season as head coach, for a violation of team rules.
Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder spoke to the media on Monday. At the time, the story had not been posted but the Cowboys' AD was aware of the allegations made by Sports Illustrated.
"We're all committed to playing by the rules and doing things the right way, and for people to say that is not what's happening is very disturbing," Holder said. "Our goal is to separate fact from fiction, and then we can start dealing with it. We've already notified the NCAA, and they're going to assign an investigator to this. We'll reach out and get someone to stand with that investigator and go through the facts. And at the end of the day, we'll come to some conclusions, and we'll deal with those. We'll prop ourselves back up, polish up that OSU brand and move on down the road.
"I apologize to all of the athletic directors in the conference for what's about to happen, what's about to be said about a member institution. That reflects on everyone, all of our brothers and peers. I've reached out, but couldn't call all of our supporters. I'd like to call every single season ticket holder we've got. We're about to sell a record number of season tickets. We have a responsibility to those people. They're going to suffer from this as well. My message was 'You're not going to like what you hear. It's going to be a rough few days, but our hope is that you may not be proud about what's being said about you, but we hope to make you proud of the way that we deal with it and how we stood up, didn't make any excuses and didn't try to cover anything up."
The schedule for the rest of the series:
Part 1: The Money (Tuesday)
Part 2: The Academics (Wednesday)
Part 3: The Drugs (Thursday)
Part 4: The Sex (Friday)
Part 5: The Fallout (Tuesday)