Barry Switzer is a controversial college football legend. The head coach of 12 Big Eight championships and three national champions during his time at Oklahoma admitted recently he worked with the local authorities to keep misdemeanor crimes committed by Oklahoma football players under wraps.
“I’d have local county people call me and say, ‘One of your guys is drunk and got in a fight and is jail down here.’ And I’d go down and get him out,” Switzer explained to USA Today. “Or I’d send an assistant coach down to get his ass out. The sheriff was a friend of the program. He didn’t want the publicity. He himself knew this was something we didn’t need to deal with in the media or anything with publicity.”
Keep in mind that Switzer coached in a different era. Even the smallest crimes seem to find their way to the public in today’s age, and Switzer may not have been able to keep things on the down-low as much in today’s game as he apparently could in the 1970s and 1980s. This kind of relationship would be ripped to shreds in today’s world of college football with the way it is covered. Switzer is aware of that as well.
“This is back before social media and the Internet and all that,” he said. “And most colleges ran it that way. Most coaches ran it that way. We all did.”
Switzer did say he never took any part in covering up any major or felony crimes. The coach of the Sooners was only focused on keeping minor crimes out of the public light, and apparently he had help in high places to allow that to happen.