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Berry Tramel: Sports Illustrated should have pointed out most accusers left OSU

NewsOK Sports Editor Mike Sherman and his team chatted with readers Wednesday about the second installment of a Sports Illustrated report that claims several OSU football players, from 2001 to 2011, received payment for performance and no-show jobs.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: September 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm •  Published: September 11, 2013
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photo -  OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY / OSU / COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Oklahoma State's Eric Davis lines up during an OSU spring football practice in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY / OSU / COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Oklahoma State's Eric Davis lines up during an OSU spring football practice in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

NewsOK Sports Editor Mike Sherman and his team chatted with readers Wednesday about the second installment of a Sports Illustrated report that claims several OSU football players, from 2001 to 2011, received payment for performance and no-show jobs. Read the complete chat transcript here.

How soon can we expect a response from the university?

Mike Sherman - Oklahoma State has started a website that it will use to handle/refute allegations made by Sports Illustrated. Here it is: http://response.okstate.edu/

I think that will be the platform for anything OSU has to say about this until the series is complete.

Can OSU and the named players have any legal recourse against SI for libel?

Mike Sherman - It's possible that individuals could sue for libel. Libel suits are very expensive to pursue and defend, which is why Sports Illustrated most definitely vetted this with its top editors and lawyers -- who are experts in libel law. While there could be inaccuracies in the reporting, the process of vetting it to make sure it does not expose SI to libel lawsuits was no doubt a stringent one. I wouldn't expect to see many libel suits out of this. Remember, the standard for proving libel is also high. Plaintiffs must prove malice and/or reckless disregard for the truth.

Any idea on when the "audio tapes" of the interviews will be released? 

Mike Sherman - It will be interesting to see whether Sports Illustrated releases them en masse. It's more likely that if they are released, they will be specific to claims by those interviewed that they didn't say what SI quoted them as saying.

Why would O.S.U. officials give the Big 12 an apology if this did not happen?

Mike Sherman - Mike Holder clarified that yesterday. He was apologizing to his fellow athletic directors and member institutions for the negative publicity that was coming, not for anything OSU did to merit it.

Has it been established how this whole thing started?

Mike Sherman - 1. How it started: In a video yesterday, Sports Illustrated's lead writer and its lead editor said the series started because the magazine wanted to look into a college football program that had made a rapid rise and that Thayer Evans had been hearing things about Oklahoma State. 2. George Dohrman, the lead writer, said players DID NOT come forward. He said they had to find them.

Why is everyone's defense that "this happens at every university?"

Berry Tramel - That's no defense. And I can tell you this. While I think boosters slip money to players at virtually every school, I don't think many schools have coaches handing out money to players. That's the most damning thing that's been alleged so far, the DeForest stuff.

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