In one of the most shocking developments yet in Sports Illustrated‘s expose’ on the Oklahoma State football program, the magazine has revealed that college football players are very similar to the student population at large: they (gasp!) like weed.
OK, that’s a bit flippant as the latest piece’s central focus slants toward the lax nature of the OSU football program when it came to the “drug culture” among football players in Stillwater. And there are cursory mentions of cocaine use. By and large, though, we’re talking about weed, man. Weed. Not meth. Not crack. We’re talking about weed.
Regardless, here are some of the highlights (get it? Highlights?) from part three of SI’s five-part series on OSU football:
- SI leads with the story of Bo Bowling, the former OSU wide receiver initially charged with, among other things, felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in February of 2009 and was subsequently suspended indefinitely. He was allowed to return to the team in May of 2010 — missing an entire season — after the felony was reduced to a misdemeanor. SI took issue with the manner in which head coach Mike Gundy dealt with Bowling, writing that “[t]here was no internal investigation to ascertain whether Bowling’s alleged drug dealing involved teammates or if the steroids in his home indicated wider issues of performance-enhancing drugs on the team.”
- Directly from the report: “Three former players admitted to SI that they dealt marijuana while members of the 2001, ’04 and ’06 teams. Players from seven other seasons between 2001 and ’12 were accused by teammates (or, in the case of Bowling, by police) of also dealing drugs, meaning the program hosted an alleged or admitted drug dealer in 10 of the last 12 seasons.”
- There was a so-called “Weed Circle,” which consisted of “stars or top prospects” who had tested positive for marijuana but were not subject to penalties from the school, provided they performed on the field and attended these “counseling sessions” off of it. “We all smoked and pissed hot, but the coaches were like, As long as you’re performing, we’ll send you to [the Weed Circle],” Thomas Wright, cornerback from 2002-04, was quoted as saying.
- Former defensive back Andrew Alexander claimed that he had never tried marijuana prior to his arrival in Stillwater, but essentially became a pothead so that he could fit in with all of his teammates who were smoking weed.
- Former defensive end William Bell claimed he made $300-$400 a week selling weed. Another unamed ex-Cowboy told SI he made $100 a week selling it to teammates and others.
- Bell and Thomas Wright (2002-04) claimed they and other teammates smoked weed prior to football games. The same two players also claimed they witnessed teammates snorting cocaine.
- Multiple claims of assistant coaches under both Les Miles and Mike Gundy openly joking about a player’s drug use. Included is an anecdote for running back Seymore Shaw (2002-04) about his offensive coordinator: “Gundy, at the time the team’s offensive coordinator, would walk past him in practice and, when Shaw was in the training room, put his fingers to his lips and laughingly pantomime taking a drag off a joint.”
- Speaking of humor, one player allegedly drank bleach in an attempt to rid his body of weed ahead of a drug test.
As was the case with the first two installments in the series, the third piece is already coming under fire. Actually, it came under fire before it even hit the Internet.
Early on in part three, ex-linebacker Donnell Williams declared that “drugs were everywhere” around the OSU football program. In an interview with an Oklahoma City television station before the latest release, however, Williams claimed the following:
Williams told me Evans wanted to know who used and sold drugs but that his only answer was, “drugs are everywhere,” as in the world, not the football program. He said that was the only thing he said about drugs.
“Evans” is Thayer Evans, the SI writer who contributed to the expose’ and who has come under arguably even more fire for his tactics than OSU football has for its alleged actions.
For those who even care anymore, part four will be released tomorrow morning and will deal with young people having sex. So there’s that, which is nice.
Some negative injury news comes with a bit of a silver lining for one of the highest-rated members of Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class.
Urban Meyer confirmed Tuesday that true freshman linebacker Baron Browning will miss the remainder of spring practice because of an injury. The early enrollee underwent surgery Tuesday morning to repair an unspecified issue in his shoulder. The Buckeyes head coach declined to reveal the details surrounding the issue that led to the medical procedure, although one report indicated it’s a torn labrum.
The good news for OSU is that Browning should be able to return to football activities at some pint in June. Barring a setback, he’s expected to be a full participant in summer camp at the start of August.
A five-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2017 recruiting class, Browning was rated as the No. 1 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 11 player on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Only two signees in an OSU class that ranked second nationally were rated higher than Browning (.9936) — cornerback Jeffrey Okudah (.9954) and defensive end Chase Young (.9953).
Browning is expected to contribute immediately as a true freshman this season.
Jeff Badet may have left Kentucky, but he hasn’t climbed out from underneath the Stoops coaching umbrella.
On his personal Twitter account Tuesday morning, Badet revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Oklahoma. The Sooners, of course, are coached by Bob Stoops; the wide receiver’s former program, the Wildcats, are coached by Mark Stoops.
Badet chose OU over another Big 12 school, West Virginia. The receiver had paid a visit to Morgantown late last month.
In mid-January, the Wildcats announced that Badet had decided to transfer out of the UK football program. Badet is on schedule to graduate in May, meaning he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017 for the Sooners.
A three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2013 recruiting class, Badet was third on the team in receptions and receiving yards as a true freshman. A leg injury in spring practice the following year — a tennis ball to the eye didn’t help either — led Badet to miss the 2014 season. Returning in 2015, he was third in receiving (29-430); in 2016, he led the team in receiving yards (670) and yards per catch (21.6).
That latter number was tops in the SEC and sixth nationally.
Matt Flanagan has officially moved on from one former Big East program to another.
In a missive posted to his personal Twitter account Monday, Flanagan revealed that he will enroll at Pittsburgh in short order and continue his collegiate playing career with the Panthers. The tight end is expected to graduate in May from Rutgers, meaning he’ll be eligible to play immediately for his new team during the 2017 season.
This will be Flanagan’s final season of eligibility.
The past three seasons, Flanagan played in 33 games for the Scarlet Knights. In that time, he caught 18 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns.
Flanagan also takes the student part of the student-athlete moniker very seriously. From nj.com:
The former Rutgers tight end told NJ Advance Media last November that his goal was to find a master’s program in a research-based science discipline. At the time, he called his decision “purely academic.”
At Rutgers, Flanagan is part of a select group of Rutgers students studying at the Aresty Research Center. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Flanagan spent three years researching with the hopes of publishing findings on the effects of Creatine — the same supplement made famous by MLB sluggers like Mark McGwire — and how it impacts the cells that synthesize bone.
At his new program, he’ll join a squad that doesn’t return any tight ends who have caught a pass at the collegiate level.
Dino Babers‘ second coaching staff is whole once again.
Following up on reports that first surfaced late last week, Syracuse confirmed in a press release that Justin Lustig (pictured, left) has left his job as the head coach at Div. II Edinboro (Pa.) College to take over as Babers’ running backs coach. Additionally, Lustig will serve as special teams coordinator for the Orange.
Lustig replaces Mike Hart, who left earlier this month to take the running backs coach job at Indiana.
“The job Justin did as a first-time head coach was fantastic,” Babers said in a statement. “He’s also been a highly-successful assistant coach. The running backs he has coached have performed extremely well, and his special teams units have consistently ranked among the nation’s best. We’re very excited to welcome Justin and his family to Syracuse.”
Hired in January of last year, Lustig took over an Edinboro team that finished 0-11 in 2015 and turned them into a 9-2 squad one year later. For that turnaround, he was named the Div. II Coach of the Year.
Lustig’s last job at the FBS level came at Ball State, where he served as running backs coach/special teams coordinator from 2011-15. He also earned the title of assistant head coach prior to the start of the 2015 season.
This will mark Lustig’s first job of any kind at a Power Five program.
“My family and I are excited, honored and grateful for the opportunity to come to Syracuse and join Coach Babers’ staff,” Lustig said. “He is building a championship program there. The future of Syracuse football is very bright and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”