Oklahoma State's hostess program, 'Orange Pride,' under fire in SI report
Part 4 of Sports Illustrated's investigation into Oklahoma State's football program discusses the role of hostesses in recruiting.
The fourth installment in Sports Illustrated's five-part series on Oklahoma State's football program discusses the role of hostesses in the recruiting process. According to the report, more than a dozen former players who played from 2001-11 said that "a small number of Orange Pride members had sexual relations with them or other prospects during recruiting visits."
In the report, SI alleges that Oklahoma State "more than tripled" the membership in Orange Pride, a group of female undergrads that contributes to the Cowboys' recruiting efforts, while other schools were cracking down on the practice -- referencing public scandals at Colorado and other schools in the early 2000's.
The report suggests that the evolution of Orange Pride coincided with Les Miles' hiring as head coach. It included a response from Miles.
"The volunteers' role in our program was important and I wanted to stress how seriously we took their duties and responsibilities and the manner in which we expected those students to conduct themselves if they were selected for Orange Pride," Miles said.
According to former Orange Pride members who spoke to SI, "a vast majority did not have sex with recruits" and none said that coaches or athletic department staff told them to do so.
Les Miles reportedly took great interest in the screening process for Orange Pride, as detailed by Shayla Simpson, the recruiting assistant who was the coordinator of Orange Pride from February 2003 until March 2004.
"Then [Miles] would do an interview," Simpson said. "So [the hostess] really got to meet him, know what his game plan kind of was, talk about what his expectations were. ... It was very important to [Miles]. He knew, yes, we all knew that the beauty helped. I'm not going to lie about that part. It's a picture. It's no different than having a pretty campus. It's no different than having a really big football field. It's part of the whole package, [but] you couldn't be pretty and an idiot and call it good. You had to really understand the game because you couldn't sound like an idiot when you talked to recruits."
The fifth and final installment of the series, "The Fallout," will be posted by Sports Illustrated on Tuesday.
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