And the walls are quickly crumbling around the Oklahoma State football expose’ penned and produced by a pair of Sports Illustrated writers.
Assailed from the outset by dozens of former Cowboy football players and one mega-booster, the five-piece installment from SI has been picked apart more than just about any other report since the Warren Commission. A sizable chunk of the former players who spoke on the record and leveled the most serious accusations had reasons to be disgruntled, with Tulsa World writing that “[o]f the 12 former players who either pointed fingers or admitted guilt, nine either were kicked out of school, dismissed from the program, transferred for playing time issues or just quit. Of those, several had criminal records.”
Thus far, that aspect of the expose’ has yet to be included in any of the stories that SI has released thus far.
One of the players quoted in part two of the five-part series and whose accusations were among the most serious, Fath’ Carter, is not one of those 12. Yet his accounting of his time in Stillwater has come under fire from, of all things, facts.
In the second installment that focused on academics, Carter claimed to have graduated from OSU. In an interview, one of the writers of the series, George Dohrmann, claimed that Carter had two degrees from the university, stating that “I have no reason to believe he lied. And he’s certainly not disgruntled.” According to ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy, Carter’s also not a graduate of Oklahoma State University per the school’s registrar office.
Carter also claimed that, in 2003, he and former OSU running back Tatum Bell attended the same class with the same professor and received A’s despite the fact that neither did any work or even attended the class. In 2004, Carter claimed, the same instructor gave the pair F’s for a class he taught because they were no longer important to the football program as their eligibility had expired. The only problem with that accusation? Bell didn’t attend classes at OSU in 2004.
“I withdrew from school after the (Jan. 2, 2004) Cotton Bowl,” Bell told McMurphy. “I was never enrolled in 2004 and never attended classes in 2004.”
In and of itself, McMurphy’s findings are not exactly earth-shattering. But, poke a hole here, poke a hole there, and pretty soon the whole premise becomes weak and, ultimately, comes tumbling down. At this point, it’s fair to ask if it’s a matter of when and not if that happens to the SI series specifically and the magazine in general.