During the midst of a nearly full slate of games Saturday, reports surfaced (of course), that Sports Illustrated would be releasing a report this coming week alleging improprieties in the Oklahoma State football program dating back to Les Miles time as head coach a decade ago.
As for specific allegations that will be raised in the piece, the Daily Oklahoman writes that the magazine’s claims, based on interviews with former players, coaches and staff members, will include ”academic fraud, players being paid for performance by an assistant coach or overpaid by boosters for jobs, and an OSU hostess program that provided sex for recruits.” OSU, the paper reports, is likely to bring in an outside investigator to ensure it’s in compliance with NCAA standards.
The school has already notified both the Big 12 and the NCAA of the pending developments.
“Oklahoma State University is deeply troubled by these claims. We will investigate the accuracy of the allegations and take all appropriate action,” said OSU President Burns Hargis in a statement. “We do not condone or tolerate improper conduct in our athletic programs. OSU requires everyone affiliated with the university to follow the rules and adhere to the highest ethical standards.”
The good news for the OSU football program, aside from than the negative publicity, is the fact that the allegations involve no current players or coaches. The vast majority of the alleged improprieties — 85 percent a source told the Oklahoman — occurred between 2001-07; the NCAA’s statute of limitations is four years.
Current LSU head coach Les Miles held the same job with the Cowboys from 2001-04 before leaving for the Tigers. Asked about any improprieties during his time in Stillwater, Miles, as expected, vehemently denied any such things occurred on his watch.
“I don’t know of any improprieties while I was coaching there,” Miles said after LSU’s win over UAB Saturday night. “We always did things right. …
“Oklahoma State has never been a place where you needed to cheat to have success.”
A former Mike Gundy assistant, though, could have some NCAA issues in his future.
* Coaches and boosters paying athletes, including violations ranging from paying for jobs not performed, overpaying for jobs and strictly paying players for performance.
Former OSU assistant coach Joe DeForest is accused of running a bonus program – paying players for specific plays – as recently as 2011.
DeForest is currently the associate head coach and special teams coordinator at West Virginia. He was an assistant at OSU from 2001-11, and stayed on staff when Gundy took over for Miles in 2005.
WVU athletic director Oliver Luck stated that the assistant has denied the allegations raised by Sports Illustrated, but allowed that “it is the right thing to do to look into the matter and review practices here.” Luck also acknowledged that WVU has been in contact with the NCAA.