It goes without saying there aren't any boosters at Oklahoma State more prominent than T. Boone Pickens, and with the possible exception of Phil Knight and Oregon, there's arguably no booster anywhere more prominent at his or her chosen athletics program that Pickens is in Stillwater.
That being the case, Pickens was all-but-conspicuous by his absence in the first installment of Sports Illustrated's expose into NCAA violations within Oklahoma State's football program, which alleged that multiple Cowboy boosters either paid players cash or hired players for sham jobs. But his complete absence from the report did little to stem his "disappointment," as he expressed in a statement and video released Monday afternoon:
The full text of the statement:
There's one word I have for the Sports Illustrated reporting on Oklahoma State University: Disappointing.
This series is not reflective of Oklahoma State University today. Many of their sensational allegations go back a decade ago.
There have been wholesale changes at the school in recent years in leadership and facilities. During that time, I have given more than $500 million to OSU, for athletics and academics. Have I gotten my money's worth? You bet. We have a football program that has a commitment to principled sportsmanship. They understand the expectations we, as fans and supporters, have for the program. We have an incredible and growing fan base, and a loyal group of alums that believe in the character of our players, coaches and administrators.
But I do welcome this scrutiny. If people take the time, it's an opportunity to better understand where Oklahoma State is today, not a decade ago. It's a different university today. It's a better university. If there are areas where we need to improve, we'll do it.
Which leads me back to my disappointment with Sports Illustrated, and their failure to ask the most important question of all: What's happening at OSU today?
It's hard to fault Pickens for his pride in Oklahoma State, or his focus on the present over what for many of the allegations is a distant past. But for most readers of SI's story, the fact is "what's happening at OSU today?" is a less important question than "did this actually happen at OSU yesterday?"
And on that particular point, Pickens' statement appears to not have an answer.