With Sports Illustrated’s five-part investigative series on its football program coming to a close, Oklahoma State has decided to appoint an ex-NCAA official to conduct an independent review of the allegations.
The school announced on Monday that Charles Smrt will lead the effort. Smrt is an 18-year veteran of the NCAA’s enforcement staff and currently runs a consulting firm specializing in compliance audits.
OSU president Burns Hargis made it clear he is taking the charges very seriously:
“While the articles do not implicate any current coaches or players to have direct involvement in any alleged misconduct, we have a responsibility to confront these disturbing reports head on and with complete transparency,” Hargis said.
It is also clear that Smrt has the full backing of Hargis.
“He has asked me to pursue the facts wherever they may lead. I assured him that I will do so, and that I will conduct the review with care and urgency,” Smrt said.
The alleged transgressions occurred between 2001 and 2011 and involve cash from boosters, grade changing and other lurid actions. If the investigation by Smrt truly does have teeth, it will get to the bottom of this and give OSU a chance to clean up its act.
The more transparency, the better.