STILLWATER — Oklahoma State running back Herschel Sims has been dismissed from the program for violation of team rules, coach Mike Gundy announced Friday.
Sims’ high school coach told the Tulsa World that the dismissal stems from a miscommunication about money between Sims and teammate Jeremiah Tshimanga.
According to an incident report filed with the OSU police department last month, Tshimanga says a fellow OSU student accessed his account at Stillwater National Bank without his permission and made two transactions worth $700.
Tshimanga, a freshman linebacker, told police on May 18 that the bank showed him two pictures of the transactions — one for $500 and another for $200 — that were made on April 27. Tshimanga identified the person making the transactions.
The suspect's name was redacted from the incident report, but is listed as a 20-year-old black male, standing 5-feet-10 inches tall and weighing 190 pounds. The suspect’s birth date listed on the report is Sept. 17, 1991, which matches Sims’ birth date on his profile on the OSU athletic website.
Tshimanga told police he confronted the suspect, who confessed to taking the money out of the account.
“Based on what Herschel told me, there has been some miscommunication between him and his teammate,” Abilene High School coach Steve Warren told the Tulsa World. “At the same time, he indicated to me that he made a mistake in the way he handled that situation, the way he went about it with his teammate and things like that.
“Herschel said, ‘I made the mistake of getting the money myself, coach. I should have let him do it and I didn’t. But we had an agreement that I was going to borrow that money from him and pay him back.’
“The kid was aware of it before it ever happened. Obviously (Sims) didn’t pay him back when he said he was going to, and that’s when he went to the coaches or police or both.”
The OSU police department and the Payne Country District Attorney’s office told The Oklahoman that, as of 2:30 p.m. Friday, no charges have been filed and no arrests have been made.
Warren told the Tulsa World that Sims told him that he had met with an attorney and that Sims and his mother also met with Gundy. Warren added that he was not aware of Sims’ future plans for school or football.
Considered to be one of the gems of OSU’s 2011 recruiting class, Sims was the Cowboys’ No. 3 running back as a true freshman last season. He carried the ball for 31 times for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
Sims had been expected to fill a similar role as a sophomore in 2012, with All-Big 12 back Joseph Randle (1,216 yards, 24 touchdowns in 2011) and complement back Jeremy Smith (646 yards, nine touchdowns) both returning for their junior seasons. But running backs coach Jemal Singleton said in April that he was pleased with the progress Sims was making during spring practice.
“He’s got to keep working, he’s got to keep fighting,” Singleton said then. “But I’m at a point a little bit more now that it’s not, ‘Oh dang, Joe got hurt, Jeremy’s tired, who do I put in?’ I feel a lot more comfortable that Herschel is an option for this team that can help us, that can get in a game and do some things.
“Obviously, he’s kind of grown more because of where he came from. He wasn’t a guy that I felt comfortable about, so the fact that I’ve had some confidence built for him (is a good sign).”
Sims’ OSU career got off to a rocky start. He took to Twitter to express his displeasure with not playing in the Cowboys’ 2011 season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette and was disciplined with a week of practice on the StairMaster. Gundy also said Sims did not initially display the proper work ethic, but that it greatly improved over the course of the season.
Now, a position that was considered to be one of great depth has taken a hit. Sophomore Desmond Roland, who compiled 95 yards on 17 carries in limited action in 2011, will become the Cowboy’s No. 3 back. Singleton said during the spring that he wants to have four backs that he can rely on in 2012.
The Cowboys did not sign a true running back in their 2012 recruiting class, but “athlete” Caleb Muncrief of Madill played both running back and receiver in high school.