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.
It took a few weeks, but Missouri head coach Barry Odom has a new defensive line coach.
The school announced the hiring of Brick Haley on Friday afternoon, a longtime veteran SEC coach who heads to Columbia after previously serving on Charlie Strong’s staff at Texas.
“I’m very pleased and really excited to be joining Coach Odom’s program,” said Haley in a release. “We haven’t worked together, but I’m very aware of him and the reputation he has in the coaching profession. I look at this as an unbelievable opportunity to work with someone who has such an impressive passion and work ethic. It didn’t take me long in our conversations to know that Coach Odom is the right guy and someone you want to work with. I believe that Mizzou is a place where the sky is the limit, and I’m looking forward to being part of the program.”
Haley has a strong reputation as a recruiter, which is helpful considering that the Tigers are in a bit of a rebuilding job right now. In addition his recent stop at Texas, he also coached at LSU, the Chicago Bears, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and others.
Missouri does have a strong tradition of producing first-round picks along the defensive line and it appears that, after a one year speed bump with Jackie Shipp, the program has found the next coach to help carry on that tradition.
Late last month, leading rusher Marcus Marshall become one of a trio of Georgia Tech football players who have announced their decisions to transfer since the end of the regular season. Thursday, that trio became a quartet.
On his personal Twitter account last night, Christian Philpott (pictured, No. 82) announced that he will be transferring from the Yellow Jackets in January. The wide receiver said he came to the decision after talks with family and friends, although he didn’t detail precisely why he was leaving the football program.
If Philpott decides another FBS program will be his next collegiate stop, he’d have to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws. Beginning in 2018, he’d then have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
A three-star 2015 signee, Philpott took a redshirt as a true freshman because of an injury. This season, Philpott caught one pass for nine yards in three games this season.
Another day, another college player giving up the college football life for a professional payday.
North Carolina announced Friday that Nazair Jones has elected to forego his final season of eligibility and make himself available for the 2017 NFL draft. The defensive tackle will play in UNC’s Sun Bowl matchup with Stanford Dec. 30 before shifting his focus to preparing for the draft.
“I’m so thankful for this amazing university,” statement from Jones began. “The University of North Carolina has changed me so much since the first day I stepped on campus. Throughout my career, I have been with a family of brothers and found people that have become my closest friends. I want to thank our amazing coaching staff, support staff and an incredible fan base. I know Tar Heel nation will always have my back!”
“It’s been a pleasure coaching Naz throughout his career at UNC and watching him grow as a person both on and off the field,” head coach Larry Fedora said. “He has overcome great physical adversity and improved tremendously since he came into the program in 2013. This season he was the leader of our defensive line and someone everyone on the team respected. I believe he has a bright future in professional football if he continues to work hard and focus on being the best he can be.”
Jones has started 21 of the 34 games in which he’s played. The past two seasons, he was named third-team All-ACC.
Thanks to a flurry of activity the past couple of days, there are just five head coach openings at the FBS level remaining. Depending on how things play out the next 24-48 hours, it may be a couple of Ohio State assistants who fill two of those openings.
The speculation with the most traction appears to involve Luke Fickell, with the OSU co-defensive coordinator reportedly the frontrunner for the Cincinnati job. According to one report, negotiations between Fickell and UC officials is currently underway; another says there have been talks but no negotiations.
The only certainty in this situation, it seems, is that an announcement on a new Bearcats coach won’t come today. It could, though, come this weekend.
Losing Fickell could actually cost Urban Meyer two assistants at once to an in-state school as, the speculation goes, cornerbacks coach/special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs would potentially follow the coach to UC as defensive coordinator.
In addition to those two assistants, Buckeyes’ co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner is in play for the head-coaching vacancy at Western Kentucky.
In addition to UC and WKU, the remaining FBS openings include Florida Atlantic, Temple South Florida. Charlie Strong is the overwhelming favorite for the USF job and an announcement of his hiring could come as early as today.