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Oklahoma State football: Sports Illustrated report chat transcript

NewsOK Sports Editor Mike Sherman and his team chatted with readers Thursday about the Sports Illustrated reports that claim several OSU football players received payment for performance and no-show jobs, participated in academic misconduct and used drugs.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: September 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm •  Published: September 12, 2013

NewsOK Sports Editor Mike Sherman and his team chatted with readers Thursday about the Sports Illustrated reports that claim several OSU football players received payment for performance and no-show jobs, participated in academic misconduct and used drugs. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.

Mike Sherman 9:29 a.m. Good morning. I will be chatting for the next hour or so. Our OSU reporters and others will be joining the conversation.
Nick 9:30 a.m. um so 30 players over 10 years thats 3 a year in a program with about 100 people in it at any given time. So around 3% is apparently a big deal.
Guest 9:30 a.m. Will anyone do a huge story putting all these players/staff coming forward together and giving us numbers as far as players dismissed for criminal activity, drugs, academics, and so on? Since SI didn't find any of that information important? If you are doing a huge investigative piece you would think the stats for both sides would be shown.
Mike Sherman 9:33 a.m. In Tuesday's editions, Mike Baldwin did short bios on the players named in Part 1, including what they were quoted as saying/alleging to Sports Illustrated and their careers at OSU. That is probably warranted with this part too. As I mentioned yesterday, my biggest problem with what I've read so far is the absence of context. Who are these players and what kind of careers did they have at Oklahoma State. Where are they now. That doesn't disqualify what they're alleging, necessarily, but it's important.
StanTheMan 9:33 a.m. I really thought they were going to talk about PEDs and what we get is Weed??? This story is ridiculous..I'll bet the usage rate amongst non-atheletes is higher than amongst atheletes at any school in the country.
David 9:33 a.m. Thayer Evans seems to twist and distort what people say ... for example in the past, Coach Young said we were fortunate to be in the Fiesta Bowl. Evans made this into OSU didn't deserve to be in the Fiesta Bowl. That is not at all what Coach Young was saying! Why would any reputable sports network rely on a person like this?
Pete 9:34 a.m. I've read the article, and apart from calling the qualifications of the Counselor into question, it seems more of the same... named players and unnamed sources breaking rules and then blaming the administration. Anything stick out to you?
Mike Sherman 9:39 a.m. 1. The allegation that there was no internal investigation into drug dealing within the OSU football progam following Bo Bowling's arrest.
2. As you said, the background of Joel Tudhman, whose background would indicate that he'd be a good guy to have working with young men but shows little or no qualifications for drug counseling. That's a problem.
3. The amount of marijuana use should be concerning. I realize it's widespread on college campuses, in our culture, but that doesn't make it acceptable for the front porch of a university, which is what the football program is.
4. Reading most of these names is like a who's who of players who didn't pan out and Oklahoma State, and now we know why.
Jonathan 9:39 a.m. In your opinion, what's the most damaging allegation in the newest article? How does this part compare to the previous two?
Mike Sherman 9:40 a.m. As far as damaging allegations, I'd rate it as Part 1 (Money), Part 2 (Drugs), Part 3 (Academic). When I first heard about the series I thought it would be in the reverse order. I think having an unqualified person running your drug counseling program is a concern in this day and age. It makes it hard for Oklahoma State to say it takes drug use and addiction as seriously as it could.
Pete 9:41 a.m. And for what it's worth, I really appreciate the perspective from this blog post:
Mike Sherman 9:41 a.m. That was certainly an interesting read, especially in light of today's story.
KM 9:41 a.m. It looks like there is a strong possibility that Thayer recorded several conversations with out consent. Perhaps I am wrong but I think this is 100% illegal.
Mike Sherman 9:42 a.m. KM, in the state of Oklahoma you can record a conversation without the other person's consent. The law is referred to as one-sided consent, meaning one side of the conversation needs to know it's being recorded. I wish I new the law in Texas, but I don't. If anyone else can find it quickly I'll post.
Sooner 9:43 a.m. This expose looks more and more like a smear campaign daily. SI is finished.
Mike Sherman 9:43 a.m. I doubt that last part.
Mike 9:44 a.m. How bad does Tatum hurt the cause when/if his interview is produced? Hard to figure why he would lie about being interviewed...I'm glad the wagons are circled by our guys, but Tatum came in to this with low cred. I have a hard time believing HCMG would mimic a guy hitting a blunt to a player.
Mike Sherman 9:45 a.m. The allegation is that Mike Gundy did that as an assistant coach. Again, just an allegation. Who knows the conversation that led up to that or the context. Also Mike was a bit of a character in his younger days. He was a lot more free and easy about kidding around. Again, context matters here.
Jen 9:45 a.m. Do you think they'll release the tapes?
Mike Sherman 9:46 a.m. I don't know. It will be interesting to see. But the fact that Sports Illustrated disclosed it so early in the series could mean a) It plans to. b) It plans to if it feels it has to. c) "If you're thinking about suing us, we have these just in case."
worried Okie 9:51 a.m. I think this was the most dammaging story yet, if true. Drug Couceling by a non licensed couseler and allowing still to do drugs as long as your levels go down. Dosn't that make you weak on drug inforcement? And yes I have heard about players kicked off for drugs.
oSu4xAlum 9:51 a.m. I feel like today's article is the only one, so far, that has me a bit worried. The 1st was so over the top as to be unbelievable and has since been rebutted by many many players who would have known had it been going on. The Academic piece is full of holes as well. However, those of us in Stillwater and close to OSU have known for a while that there was a real drug problem, at one time. I don't think it's the same today, but when you interview a bunch of druggies, you find out a lot about the drug culture. Does anyone else agree with my take?
Guest 9:51 a.m. With all the former players that were interviewed stating they were misquoted, is it possible for them to take legal action against SI or Evans?
Mike Sherman 9:53 a.m. It's possible to sue for libel but not for being misquoted. The standard is that the plantiff would have to prove they had been harmed AND the defendant had shown malice and/or a reckless disregard for the facts.
Brian S. 9:53 a.m. What in this story is real news? Tudman not being a certified drug
Mike Sherman 9:54 a.m. Yes, that is new. To me, so is the fact that there was no internal investigation after Bowling's arrest for drug dealing, if that in fact is true. Interesting to me that Sports Illustrated led with that but didn't come back to it until the end.
Mark 9:54 a.m. So did SI over hype this thing? Don't get me wrong. There are some serious allegations that OSU needs to look at (especially in the money part) but overall this feels like a big thud to me.
Mike Sherman 9:55 a.m. Jake just made an interesting point, how can you be looking the other way and getting rid of drug users at the same time?
Guest 9:55 a.m. The most I took out of this was that OSU needs to beef up its counseling service. Outside of that, SI ignored the fact that a lot of important contributors were indeed kicked off the team for drugs. And that Bo Bowling had his scholarship taken away and he had to work hard to get back on the team.
Mike Sherman 9:56 a.m. Everybody needs to beef up their drug counseling.
Victor 9:56 a.m. Just wanted to let all the athletes who do things the right way, we are very proud of you and are grateful for your hard work! And to repeat a common phrase "it happens everywhere" (the hard work) not just at OSU. GO POKES!
oSu4xAlum 9:56 a.m. Today's article is the worst of the three, I think. The 1st was so over the top as to be laughable and unbelievable and has since been debunked by many who "would have known" had it been going on. The academic piece has huge holes. Today's piece, however, is more concerning, as most of us in Stillwater and close to oSu know there was a recognized drug problem at one time. I don't think it's as bad now, but when you interview a bunch of druggies, you get a lot of negatives about the drug culture, and it doesn't look good. However, after reading about all the former players who were interviewed and described how they were mislead and their words were twisted and slanted, that may make this article more questionable. Does anyone agree/disagree with my take thus far?
Mark 9:56 a.m. Any worry that all the people making allegations against OSU admit to being heavy drug users in part 3. Does that hurt the credibility of part 1 and 2? Are we really supposed to believe these guys can remember things that happened 10 years ago while they were high?
Mike Sherman 9:56 a.m. Good point.
Guest 9:57 a.m. Why would they use the story about Bo Bowling without the details about getting back on the team? Why, because the rest of the story makes OSU and Gundy look good.
JDC 9:57 a.m. Gina, this thing seems to be losing steam. At least it is with me. So OSU provided a drug counselor to kids (not an NCAA requirement) and he wasn't licensed but was trying to get there. Is that really a bad thing? Yeah, his bio was a bit exaggerated. Maybe an oversight, maybe not. Accentuating his athletic prowess probably went to boost his staning with the athleste. The masters degree thing is different, though. Also, in RE the drug dealers on the team: I highly doubt they are going to announce that to the coaches else they end up like Bo Bowling (in jail). If you are doing something illegal you are going to cover it up, obviously, so how can coaches be expected to catch a dealer when the cops obviously didn't?
Jason 9:57 a.m. Which team will the NCAA pursue harder? The NCAA bellcow Alabama with documented paid players or the new up and coming program OSU who isn't a traditional team with a bunch of hearsay
Mike Sherman 9:58 a.m. The Alabama investigation would be easier to pursue because of the documentation Yahoo! Sports presented.
Chico 9:58 a.m. Surprised by all of the media criticism by NewsOK and Tulsa World about how the story is being reported. Are you OK with people doing that the next time (if ever) you write an investigative piece.
Mike Sherman 9:59 a.m. What's it matter if we are OK with it. It's going to happen. No one is above scrutiny when everyone with Internet access can be a fact-checker. And to your point about us and investigative stories, noted.
Francis 9:59 a.m. Mike: Are you planning any investigation to clear up some of these question. Shouldn't those rent house records be public? Or Joe DeForrest's spending records?
Mike Sherman 10:01 a.m. There's a lot of allegations to sift through. But public records, not as much. The rent house records and Joe DeForest's spending records aren't public and won't be even if the NCAA investigates.
oSu4xAlum 10:01 a.m. This article seems the worst so far, as far as making oSu look bad; do you agree?
Mike Sherman 10:02 a.m. It's in the eye of the beholder.
RandPaulFan2k 10:03 a.m. So let me get this straight, OSU fans are saying that SI had a conspiratorial meeting in New York to plan how they would single out the school because they hated it? Really? And after that did they forge Obama's birth certificate?
Mike Sherman 10:03 a.m. There's exaggeration on all sides of this, including that post.
Guest 10:03 a.m. Mike after reading today's story, what do you see that the NCAA could come down on OSU for?
Mike Sherman 10:04 a.m. Nothing in today's report. I don't believe there were any allegations that fall within the NCAA jurisdiction, but I could be wrong.
Steven 10:05 a.m. Agreed Pete. The walk on letter from yesterday explained this whole thing perfectly. What exactly should OSU do regarding drugs without taking themselves completely out of the real college football world that you don't see we do now?
oSuProf 10:05 a.m. Joe has said he would be glad to share his bank records from the time period he was at oSu.
Mike Sherman 10:05 a.m. If he shares them, they are public
Scott 10:05 a.m. referencing Jake's comment about people being dismissed for failed multiple drug tests......same with the academics yesterday....if those guys were "given" A's, or even passing grades, why did a couple of them flunk out??? How would that be possible if they were "given" passing grades?
Royce Coulter 10:06 a.m. I heard Traber talking about one of the players yesterday that OSU sent a player to rehab and got him cleaned up. He was caught again 2nd time and then kicked off the team.
Mike Sherman 10:06 a.m. I've heard the same thing in recent days. Not on the record and not naming players, but referencing one of the players cited in today's report.
dooby 10:06 a.m. I think the counselor thing is most damaging today, I keep hearing that the sex thing might be the worst of all though. What do you know Mike?
Mike Sherman 10:07 a.m. I can't imagine it would be. I liked the blog post Berry had the other day with a former NCAA investigator saying the most difficult things to police is money and sex.
GW 10:07 a.m. Actually property records are public. Payne County Assesor site has a link.
Mike Sherman 10:09 a.m. Property records sure, but whether they worked on rent houses and whose rent houses they worked on?
Scott in Houston 10:09 a.m. Your personal view: is this really an exposé or a smear piece?
Mike Sherman 10:09 a.m. Neither.
Collin 10:10 a.m. Just to clarify, tests administered by individual sports programs (outside of the NCAA required tests) wouldn't necessarily be subject to institutional policy on drugs? Just to say that any football coach in America can test players on his team whenever they desire, and those results might remain between the coach/trainer/player?
Mike Sherman 10:10 a.m. They have to follow a policy, which has to follow the law.
Chris 10:10 a.m. I think the blog post from the walk-on mentioned above is correct in one way. Athletes get special treatment. UNLESS, they are caught cheating! Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, USC, PSU, SMU are all examples. That why I think the academic violations are the most serious. It is cheating.
Mark 10:11 a.m. From a journalist perspective wouldn't you release the least explosive on a Friday?
Mike Sherman 10:12 a.m. I suppose. I don't really have strong feelings either way.
Guest 10:12 a.m. Folks, I worked for the athletic maintenance department at OU one summer in the mid '80s, painting the football dorms. Besides leaving their rooms in shambles, the players apparently couldn't care less about hiding their drug use. Baggies with pot residue were lying around everywhere, as were little envelopes obviously used to hold cocaine. I'm sure it was pretty much the same then at OSU and most major college football schools. And I'm sure that what's outlined in this article goes on at virtually every major college football program. In any case, when it comes to pot, who cares? It's legal in some states, and soon will be in more.
Jared 10:12 a.m. Texas is a "one party consent" law state for audio recording to the Digital Media Law Project. Legal or not does that mean it is ethical or professional? How are journalists trained regarding consent to be recorded?
Mike Sherman 10:16 a.m. Thanks. Jared is responding to the question about whether it's lawful to tape record someone without their consent. As for training, journalists have to be informed in the law and are wise to be informed in human nature. How you treat sources matters. Your stories and your dealings with people are your calling card. There's a cost-benefit that we have to weigh in every interaction. What's the importance of this information and what's the cost involved in how I go about obtaining it. If I tape-record someone without telling them, I'm standing on a rock as far as the law in Oklahoma but I may be risking my relationship with them in the future.
Phil 10:16 a.m. Mike, you seriously don't think this is a smear piece? Is it exceedingly bad journalism? Please tell me don't think this is acceptable from SI?
Mike Sherman 10:17 a.m. No, Phil. I would not call it a smear piece.
Guest 10:17 a.m. If he didn't record them you'd be calling him a liar and accusing him of making quotes up more than people already are
Mike Sherman 10:18 a.m. I recommend recording interviews and letting people know you are recording them.
GW 10:18 a.m. The rent house allegations were that Kay Norris paid to clean floor boards of rent houses. The tone is that they were her rent houses. Her family has already said they did not own any rentals in Stillwater, that would be easy to confirm or eliminate.
Mike Sherman 10:18 a.m. That's right. We're written about that, quoting the Norris family as saying their rental house is in Broken Bow. Jenni Carlson wrote that for Tuesday's editions.
Steve 10:20 a.m. Can't you sue and win for libel if it can be proven there was malicious intent to harm? Pretty sure a strong case could be made against Mr Evans.
Mike Sherman 10:21 a.m. Yes, if you can convince a jury of that, you can win a libel case.
Guest 10:21 a.m. Mike, has your staff been successful contacting the main former players that were quoted in this all of the stories? The guys on the videos?
Mike Sherman 10:21 a.m. Thus far, no.
oSuProf 10:22 a.m. I always thought of the Bo Bowling story as a success story; he "did his time," stayed in school and made practically perfect grades, was given a 2nd chance and took advantage of it without further problems. Wonder why SI didn't tell the "rest of the story"?
Mike Sherman 10:22 a.m. Actually, it does tell the end of the story. It's the middle that is not included.
Mike Sherman 10:23 a.m. The end of his OSU playing career, that is. I don't know where Bowling is, but that will be something good for us to check on
Guest 10:23 a.m. When do you expect the school to comment on everything that has been published?
Mike Sherman 10:24 a.m. It is now, gradually. Marilyn Middlebrook did interviews yesterday. OSU has a website to handle allegations. I'm sure there will be more coming from OSU when the report is over. I'd expect there to be some kind of statement or press conference Saturday.
Guest 10:24 a.m. Mike - You think they'll investigate the "Cowboys4ever" song. That thing was suspicious man.
oSuProf 10:25 a.m. Did you see Doug Bond's comments about his experience with SI?
Mike Sherman 10:26 a.m. No, please included a link if you have.
Guest 10:26 a.m. From an outsiders prospective (Purdue alum in DC), one would think that since most of this has stopped and occurred outside the statute of limitations, OSU shouldn't get more than bad PR. I disagree with many people's take here that this is ALL false. Where there is smoke, there is almost always fire (except Duke Lacrosse, which was just ONE person's account). The NCAA though tends to prosecute based on media attention as much as merit (NCAA enforcement members have recently admitted based on FACTS today, they may not have gone after Penn State as heavily as they did). Since this has been something that appears to be getting better, do you think the OK State athletic department will be lenient with Mike Gundy?
Mike Sherman 10:26 a.m. Mike Gundy has no concerns about job security based on what has been reported thus far.
Guest 10:27 a.m. Have you had difficulty contacting the players quoted because they are hard to find or because they don't want to talk?
Mike Sherman 10:28 a.m. I'm not sure. I haven't been the one trying to contact them. They didn't come forward to Sports Illustrated. SI had to find them. Jimmie Tramel of the Tulsa World had an interview with Asa Pogi yesterday, but he isn't one of the accusers.
Guest 10:28 a.m. Will the Oklahoman or NewsOK publish a bio on each of the players quoted, their time at OSU, if they played in any games and why they were dismissed from the team or left school?
Mike Sherman 10:29 a.m. This is from Monday. We'll need to do another one today.
Big G 10:29 a.m. One thought I have as a non-OSU guy is that SMU's troubles came from basically the same thing: a disgruntled player who was kicked off the team.
Big G 10:29 a.m. Mike Gundy hasn't done anything wrong. If anyone it was Miles...and OSU fans hate him anyway
Guest 10:29 a.m. Thanks Mike! Very cool you could pull that up so fast! Just needed some comical release here!
soooner fan 10:30 a.m. did you talk to your osu people about if they saw any of this stuff going on.......wasnt that baldwin and helsey did they miss this big story
Mike Sherman 10:33 a.m. Any of this stuff is pretty broad. These allegations (paying players, pot smoking, easy classes, academic fraud) are the kind of things you see. People say things, but saying things and putting your name on them are quite different. What people are willing to say and put their name to while they're on the team at OSU and what they're willing to talk about five and 10 years later are two different matters. I think it's always wise to circle back to former players and talk to them about the experiences (good and bad) after they've had some time to reflect.
PeteG 10:34 a.m. I am bit surprised that the Oklahoman, with all of its resources devoted to covering OSU Athletics, did not even hear a rumor of all of this going on and got scooped by Thayer Evans. Unless Evans is scooping air...
Mike Sherman 10:34 a.m. See above response.
RC Texas 10:34 a.m. Do you have a feel for how this series is playing nationally? Is it a big deal or is the Alabama-Texas A&M game overshadowing what could have been extended negative publicity nationwide?
Gina Mizell 10:35 a.m. Hey everyone, jumping on here now. How's everybody doing?
Mike Sherman 10:35 a.m. Not really. Dan Patrick has talked about it. The Mike & Mike Show has talked about it. In college markets its probably bigger. I actually think the Yahoo! Sports report on SEC players which broke last night will eclipse it.
Mike Sherman 10:35 a.m. This week, until Johnny Football vs. the Tide takes over.
MartzMimic 10:35 a.m. You know, Mike, I'm not entirely surprised by college kids doing stupid things. As others have said, some of this is likely true; some isn't. I'm most surprised that SI left so many holes, like Jake mentioning 27 of the 30 in Part 3 having not finished at OSU. It doesn't make the story inaccurate, but very sloppy IMHO.
Guest 10:36 a.m. Can those who were secretly interviewed demand to hear their segments?
Mike Sherman 10:37 a.m. They can demand. And Sports Illustrated is under no legal obligation to comply, though it would probably be a good thing to do. And I can't see why it wouldn't.
Mike Sherman 10:38 a.m. I'm going to let Gina take over for a bit. Thanks for the questions. Sorry I didn't get to them all. There are 800 people participating in this chat in one way or another right now, a reflection of the interest in this topic and Oklahoma State football. Take care.
Guest 10:39 a.m. i dont see what playing tiMe has to do these guys crediblity. bench players and journeymen always are the most truthful. anyone read Ball Four?
Gina Mizell 10:41 a.m. I agree with you that playing time isn't really relevant. What is worth considering is if these players were kicked off the team, flunked out, etc. Some examples in the piece fall into that category. Some don't. But the reader can look at the background of certain players and decide for themselves if they want to believe what they're saying.
Ken 10:44 a.m. What is your take on Shaw's statement. Can a reporter change what someone says and use it as s quote?
Steve 10:44 a.m. Mike, back to my earlier question regarding Libel and Phils's regarding smear. SI at the beginning said this was about investigating how this program rose so fast? how if any of this is remotely true help us rise so quickly? I'd believe them if we had steroids or were paying Blackmon and Bryant or Weeden etc, but 2nd team guys saying this or that? I have an answer on how we rose, because Gundy kicked all these accusers/drug users off the team and Holder got Boone to invest in our facilities. this is absolutely nothing but a smear campaign.
Mike Sherman 10:45 a.m. Just jumped back in for a second to take Steve's question, a good one.
Gina Mizell 10:45 a.m. No, a reporter can't change what someone says and use it as a quote. No, no, no. That's an easy one. As far as Shaw's statement, it links up with others who were interviewed and claim they were misled about what the story was going to be about.
Mike Sherman 10:48 a.m. I can't remember if Sports Illustrated said that it wanted to look at how these allegations contributed to Oklahoma State's rise, but it's clear the writing has not connected the two. The drug use contributed to a lot of the drug users seeing their college football careers end prematurely. The pay for performance? Calvin Mickens said he got paid after a lopsided loss to Texas A&M and a narrow victory over Montana State. The academic fraud: There was an allegation that OSU did all it could to keep Dez Bryant eligible. However, Sports Illustrated's desire to look inside a program on the rise? Well, that it did.
Gina Mizell 10:52 a.m. To jump in there, the famous line from the teaser is SI wanted to look at "how the sausage was made." In my opinion, if you do that with OSU, I think you have to look at Boone's donation and the facilities and the coaching of Gundy/Miles, etc. This is more of a "let's look inside a big-time CFB program" than this is HOW this program rose to national prominence. The picture isn't a complete one if the HOW was the goal. That's just me.
Guest 10:54 a.m. Bo Bowling just said on the Franchise that his story is a SUCCESSFUL Story for Oklahoma State and that OSU gave him the opportunity to change his life!!!
Gina Mizell 10:55 a.m. I would agree with that. Last time I checked, he was playing in the CFL. He got his life turned around. He's not quoted in the story, but I'm not surprised he wasn't used as an example.
Pete 10:55 a.m. I'm curious if you've given thought into the long term consequences of the series? Even if the NCAA investigation turns up nothing, will this hurt OSU's program going forward?
Gina Mizell 10:58 a.m. We haven't had any formal discussions at our office yet about it, but it's definitely crossed my mind. This story will be important locally for a long while. I'll be curious to see the recruiting impact, etc., if there is any. What changes are made internally? Does Joel Tudman remain the program's drug counselor? Things like that. It's a good opportunity for OSU to look in the mirror and fix what needs to be fixed, and keep the status quo on what's good. Based on what I've read so far, I still don't anticipate any major NCAA violations. And we know how long those investigations can take...
Big G 10:59 a.m. If you are talking to someone in the press, unless you clearly state it is off the record, they can quote you and you should assume you are being recorded.
Gina Mizell 11:02 a.m. That is correct. For ethical purposes, the magical tape recorder can go a long way. If I'm with someone in person, I'll take it out, set in on the desk, etc., just to remind them that this is an interview and they're being recorded. Turning the red light off is a sign we're off the record, but I or the subject will state it, as well. So, yes, it's a good rule of thumb to always assume you're on the record unless it's plainly stated, but there are certain things I do as a reporter that is common courtesy and appropriate practice in this job.
Ken 11:02 a.m. I send a comment but it doesn't show up on the screen.
Gina Mizell 11:03 a.m. Showed up now! We currently have 874 readers and countless questions. We're getting to as many as we can.
DG 11:04 a.m. Gina, with the current team, the one playing Lamar this weekend, do you get the sense that it's business as usual or is there any noticeable distraction?
Gina Mizell 11:06 a.m. I'm sure it's a factor for Gundy and the people named in the report. I was in the academic center yesterday talking to Marilyn Middlebrook and it was clear they were all upset by it. But the current players? I'm sure many of them have read it and heard about it from friends, family, classmates, etc., but I really don't think this will impact them too much. Most of these allegations happened well before they got on campus. Heck, I was in seventh grade in 2001. And these kids are younger than me.
Earl, NYC 11:07 a.m. How is it that the DOK and the Tulsa World (or any other reporter that regular covers the Big XII) didn't hear of these allegations 10 months ago, but Thayer Evans did?
Gina Mizell 11:13 a.m. I can only speak for myself on this. As reporters, we've always got our eyes and ears on things, looking into inquiries, sending out periodic public records requests, etc. But a local beat writer and national investigative reporter are two different jobs. Thayer Evans and George Dohrmann didn't need to worry about OSU's game at Kansas last October. I did. My job centers around the day-to-day operation of the current football program. Now, as Mike said earlier, I think it's a good idea to circle back to former players and to examine the history of the program. We need to do more of that. And if we ever hear of misconduct or NCAA major violations currently happening in football or any other sport, you better believe we check it out. Just because we don't publish anything doesn't mean we aren't reporting. SI got this piece and we didn't. I'll own up to that. And I wish we had a full-time sports investigative team. I think the watchdog part of journalism is important. But George Dohrmann's daily job is different than mine.
Gina Mizell 11:15 a.m. I'll add that I wish I personally could do more investigative work.
Guest 11:19 a.m. Why is it that Tulsa World is running stories of ex players who denounce these claims or tell their side of the story and the OKC paper hasn't?
Gina Mizell 11:20 a.m. Not sure what you've been reading the last three days. We have talked to several players--guys who are mentioned in the stories and not--who have also refuted the claims. Josh Fields, Markelle Martin, Corey Hilliard, Charlie Johnson, Jamie Blatnick, Cooper Bassett, the list goes on and on...
Big G 11:21 a.m. Why shoot the messenger here? Lets assume that Evans hates OSU and called them chokie state (which by the way has been said by those guys on sports radio) does that mean the report is untrue? Also, isn't Dohrman (sp) a pretty highly respected journalist?
Gina Mizell 11:23 a.m. No, it certainly doesn't mean the report is untrue. I will say, though, that I'm surprised SI put Thayer on this story, based on his history and what he's written. This type of backlash was going to come no matter what because of his association with it. Yes, George is very, very respected in this profession. He's got a Pulitzer.
Guest 11:24 a.m. Is Tatum Bell still denying talking to SI? Part III states “Thirty former Oklahoma State players who were members of the program between 2000 and 2011 TOLD SI they used marijuana while on the football team: running back Tatum Bell (2000 to '03)
Gina Mizell 11:24 a.m. I haven't heard anything from Tatum since Tuesday. If SI releases those tapes, that would clear up those conflicting stories.
Big G 11:26 a.m. The concern I have with all these OSU fans claiming this is a hack piece, shouldn't they first ask, what if this, or even some of it, is true? B/c if even some of it is true, its a big problem. OSU can take credit by having Gundy clean a lot of it up.
Gina Mizell 11:27 a.m. I think that's a great, rational way of looking at things. And I think that's how OSU is going to look at it all. Examine what's good, what's bad and make the necessary changes. In a way, it's an opportunity to better the program, even with the PR hit.
PokeFan83 11:28 a.m. I just read the Yahoo story on the SEC player. It has some real proof that so far the SI story is only based on hearsay.Gina do you think that Pickens is right that this story could turn out good for OSU in hte end?
Gina Mizell 11:29 a.m. I'll admit, I haven't had a chance to read the Yahoo story yet. Been so buried in all this stuff. I don't think this series will be "good" for OSU from a PR standpoint. Like I said above, I think it can be good in examining the program and determining what needs to be better.
Guest 11:30 a.m. The playing time has to do with credibility about those who say they got paid. Why in the world would a booster give a kid who sat on the bench and didn't contribute to a game a couple hundred dollars and not pay one of the stars that scored a touchdown? was the bench player cheering really great? did his cheering help the outcome? You would have to be one dumb booster to give money away to someone that didn't do crap.
Gina Mizell 11:31 a.m. You make a great point. That story frames the money thing as players who put their hand out were the ones that got paid. But you would think it would trickle down some to the stars.
Guest 11:31 a.m. Gina, in your time covering OSU have you seen anything or heard anything that made you wonder if OSU was cutting corners or cheating to build their program?
Gina Mizell 11:34 a.m. Not anything out of the ordinary with the current program. Again, my time being around this program is small in the grand scheme of things. But as I mentioned above, we do public records requests and are consistently keeping our eyes and ears open and looking into squishy things that are brought to our attention. I live in Stillwater. But I certainly can do better. I always believe I can do better. This has been a learning experience for me, as well.
Tom H. 11:35 a.m. Gina, I asked the other day and never got a reply, but: If Gundy did kick some of the players off the team for taking money or getting do nothing jobs, does that hurt Gundy or OSU if he did not report it to the NCAA?
Gina Mizell 11:36 a.m. I don't remember anything being reported that guys were specifically kicked off the team for taking improper benefits. More like grades, drugs, and my favorite, "violation of team rules." If Gundy knew someone had taken money and did not report it to the NCAA, yes, that would be a problem.
Mark 11:36 a.m. Bowling is on the radio saying SI never contacted. If Bowling such a piece of the story why would you not talk to him? I know everyone thinks OSU fans are paranoid but to me that shows what SI's goal was. There was zero attempt to get the other side.
Gina Mizell 11:36 a.m. That struck me as odd, as well. Kind of like not talking to Marilyn Middlebrook about academics.
crystal 11:37 a.m. Has anyone been able to talk to Thayer Evans about all of this? I know the other author has been interviewed...
Gina Mizell 11:38 a.m. We have been trying to get in touch with him all week. I'm not assigned to that story and haven't been in the office since Tuesday, so I'm unsure if we have been successful in that venture yet.
Mark B 11:38 a.m. Gina, you certainly can't change words but you can not include a full quote to remove context and put it in a sentence that is written by the author to make it seem like the person is saying something different than what they intended.
Gina Mizell 11:41 a.m. You are correct. That practice is also wrong. Really wrong. Journalism 101 there. Quotes not only need to be on the record, but need to correspond with the specific topic/question/anecdote/etc. referred to in the story.
Big G 11:41 a.m. No one who still is in the public eye wants to say "yes, we were corrupt and I was a part of it and accepted it." Taking some of these comments from former players who are still in the game as gospel truth is just as naive as believing everything out of this SI article
Gina Mizell 11:41 a.m. Well said.
Steve from guthrie 11:41 a.m. How important is context? How obligated is a reporter to insure that the context of certain actions or question is known in relation to the answer given in the article?
Gina Mizell 11:43 a.m. It's beyond important. To me, that's a non-negotiable.
Gina Mizell 11:46 a.m. Ok, folks, I'm gonna hand this ship back over to Mike Sherman. I've got some phone calls to make and such. Thanks for all your questions. We went over 1,000 readers a bit ago. Again, we're going to try to get to as many as we can, so please be patient. We appreciate your interest.
Jenni Carlson 11:47 a.m. I'm going to take over the chat for a bit! I'll get to as many questions as possible.
Darryl 11:47 a.m. In the first part of this article, "The Money", it mentions "Shaw says that after he decided to attend Oklahoma State in 2001 as a senior at Shawnee (Okla.) High, a booster gave him between $400 and $500." Well, he didn't commit to OSU while in high school but committed to OU instead. Will your paper be doing an investigation into OU because Shaw may have received $ from the Sooners?
Jenni Carlson 11:48 a.m. Darryl, I suspect what was meant by that was that after he landed at OSU, he got money from an OSU booster. But I'm just guessing here.
Anthony 11:48 a.m. Lost in the questioning of whether certain things are a big deal, which players are "good Cowboys" and which aren't is the fact that an athletic department the size of OSU's attempted to run a comprehensive (I suppose) drug counseling program with a man--no matter your opinion of how nice he is--was A) unqualified on ANY level to be a drug treatment counselor and B) falsified his resume and/or the university embellished it for public consumption. Doesn't this alarm ANYONE?
Jenni Carlson 11:49 a.m. Anthony, to me, the stuff about Joel Tudman's lack of qualifications is the biggest eyebrow-raiser about a current staff member so far. OSU needed to do better there.
Guest 11:49 a.m. Will this be the end of Gundy?
Jenni Carlson 11:49 a.m. Meaning will he get fired because of this investigation? I sure don't think so. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:50 a.m. Do I think OSU is going to take a long, hard look at itself? Yes. But Gundy's head will not roll, at least not over what we've seen so far.
Guest 11:50 a.m. Clarifying: Bo Bowling is retired temporarily due to an injury.
Reggie 11:50 a.m. OSU, Will be fine, I believe they have done enough right to get through this, but don't you think you can find a pothead on any college campus in America and get a drug story?
Jenni Carlson 11:51 a.m. Pot is clearly prevalent on all college campuses, and that extends into football teams. So, yes, I suspect you could find stories like this everywhere. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:52 a.m. But that doesn't change the fact that OSU needs to take a good look at what its policies are. Take this as an opportunity to do some deep investigation of yourself.
Guest 11:52 a.m. Hypothetically, outside looking in. If there was a huge problem with the program, you'd think all the coaches would jump ship to avoid punishment as in every scandal. Evans is a clown!
Jenni Carlson 11:53 a.m. As I mentioned before, what we've seen so far, I don't think current coaches' heads will roll. So by extension, I don't think you'll see a mass exodus.
Rich 11:53 a.m. I would think if a reporter quoted something that a person never said that would be illegal? Should that person sue the reporter if that reporter says they have him on record?
Jenni Carlson 11:54 a.m. To your first question, it's not illegal to quote something that a person never said. There's no LAW that you're breaking. But it is highly unethical. Clearly, reporters are supposed to report was is actually said and keep it in the proper context. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:55 a.m. To your second question, someone could likely only sue for libel. Those cases are expensive and hard to win, from what I understand.
Jef 11:55 a.m. Do you think there are ethical issues with Thayer's methods as it seems by Aso's account that Thayer ambushed him at church and recorded the "interview" without his knowledge?
Jenni Carlson 11:56 a.m. If what Aso said is true -- the way he characterized what Evans did -- then I would say that would questionable ethical conduct. It's not anything I would do. It's not anything I've ever known anyone on our current staff to do. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:57 a.m. When we're reporting on a story, we let the source know what we're reporting on and we let them know that we're recording and/or quoting them. If my notebook is open and my tape recorder is out, we're on the record unless someone says otherwise.
Chris 11:57 a.m. Seeing as the events that occurred with the football program were going on at the same time as the fallout with the basketball program and the Suttons, I would be surprised if the corruption is just limited to the football program. Has SI looked into this, and possible cover-ups regarding problems with the basketball program?
Jenni Carlson 11:58 a.m. Not to my knowledge, Chris.
Allen 11:58 a.m. Here's Thayer Evans' report on OSU's Fiesta Bowl win in 2012. SI is depending on him for this stories?
Walter W, ABQ 11:58 a.m. Gina, if it turns out that the SI reporters really did "mislead" their subjects on what the story was actually about, is that considered to be unethical journalism practice? Or is it typical of investigative reporters to get people to say things they wouldn't otherwise say?
Jenni Carlson 12:00 p.m. As I mentioned before, misleading sources on what you're writing about is something that is we don't do in our shop because it's seedy. As to your second question, I can't speak to what investigative reporters do.
Mark 12:00 p.m. I really appreciate the dedication all of you have shown to keeping us informed and interacting with the OSU fan base. I don't live in Oklahoma and used to get my OSU news from the message boards. But for the last couple of years I have relied on you because of your professionalism and the thought you put into your articles. Thanks from a thankful out of state reader.
Jenni Carlson 12:00 p.m. I know that was posted when Gina was on, Mark, and I'll pass it on to her. Thanks!
Guest 12:00 p.m. The story is a total disconnect of known facts. Football players have left or have been kicked off the team for drug charges or drug paraphernalia. The same as you outstanding coverage of former players speaking up for those accused and the inaccuracies. The weight of evidence is against the SI report. After the latest article, I am even more confident that an investigation will turn up very little. Of Course, teenagers do stupid things and adult try to help them.
Waimea cowboy 12:01 p.m. Not exactly on topic, but may involve who OSU pays next Jan. How do you think the information that has come out so far about the three SEC schools (at least two of which are currently on probation) and players receiving money from agents will affect their status going forward? Any possibility of national championships being vacated?
Jenni Carlson 12:02 p.m. I'm not sure there would be any penalties on current teams, but it sure sounds like the violations might lead to games being vacated. Does that lead to titles being vacated? I'm not sure, but it seems possible.
Guest 12:02 p.m. You can usually tell the seriousness of something by the reaction. For example, if the DOK is sued, and they immediately hire Skadden or Wachtel, etc. as counsel, you know the charge is serious. The fact that SI has Peter King, Seth Davis, etc. out defending Dohrmann, Evans, etc. via twitter, with Davis even mentioning "editors who have editors, lawyers who have lawyers" etc, tells me that SI is getting defensive about the backlash they are receiving. Thoughts?
Jenni Carlson 12:03 p.m. I could definitely buy what you're selling, Guest.
Guest 12:03 p.m. As far as the nation's perception on this, did you see The Tonight Show with Jay Leno... This is what the nation sees, not our local news. Will the other side of the story get told to the nation... such as the tactics used in these player's so called interviews, the source of the interviewer, the people implicated in the articles that were never even contacted for an interview?
Jenni Carlson 12:03 p.m. We can't be held responsible for what the national media does with this story. We can only control what we do here at The Oklahoman and on
Jef 12:04 p.m. My grandfather always said,"If you go looking for a problem -- you'll find one!" Do you think that's what happened here? It would seem Thayer Evans is the catalyst of this all.
Jenni Carlson 12:05 p.m. I'd say every major college football program in America has problems. But that doesn't let OSU off the hook. The school needs to look at the charges that have been made, investigate them, determine what's fact and fiction, then take the appropriate steps.
dooby 12:05 p.m. do you think any of this will make the NCAA want to look behind the scenes at Miles and his current state of the program at LSU? I'm sure it's just unwanted attention for that program as well.
Jenni Carlson 12:05 p.m. I suspect the NCAA might be a little more interested in Les now than it was this time last week.
Jef 12:05 p.m. There was such a major disparity between the article on Yahoo Sports regarding the SEC and the SI article on OSU. The Yahoo article had hard facts to back up the allegations while the SI article was only allegations -- at what point does the NCAA start viewing this as an opinion piece rather than a smoking gun?
Jenni Carlson 12:06 p.m. OSU and the NCAA can go looking for the hard evidence (receipts, transcripts, etc.) that SI has yet to produce. If they find it, then they can go from there.
Rusty 12:07 p.m. Deosn't the Alabackwards players accepting gifts and money take the spotlight off of Okie State and bring the Blake Bell replaces injusred Knight back to the forefront of America's print media?!?!?
Jenni Carlson 12:07 p.m. The Alabama story has clearly drawn some headlines.
Mark B 12:08 p.m. Highly respected journalists have been involved with poorly written things as well. Evans did most of the research and interviews and the other guy wrote the piece.
Curious 12:08 p.m. Wasn't Middlebrooks son arrested for being a bookie?
Jenni Carlson 12:08 p.m. Not anything I've ever heard, Curious. If you know a first name, we can try to look him up.
Guest 12:08 p.m. Do you think of these stories will affect recruiting for OSU
Jenni Carlson 12:10 p.m. I suppose it could. Parents may wonder if it's a good idea to send their kids to OSU after these stories. But I suspect there are all sorts of programs that you could say that about. From what I've heard, no recruits currently committed to OSU have backed out.
Robert 12:10 p.m. No wonder it was the scrubs and second team guys who are quoted in the SI report about drug use. If they did actually get into a game back in the day and were stoned they probably got clocked and never saw the field again. I've heard some of the audio tapes of the "accusers" and it sounds like they still may be spleefing up! They probably can't remember last week. But I digress. Let's boil it down to the essence here. Ok we have this SI articel accusing lots of atrocities and even Berry Trammel thinks some of it might even be true. The question I have is who will be able to figure out what is actually true and when will that occur?
Jenni Carlson 12:11 p.m. OSU has asked the NCAA to get involved already. The school has also said it will ask an independent investigator onto campus. Things will be looked into. How long that takes is anyone's guess.
Nate 12:11 p.m. Regarding national perception, I would like to know if most people's take-away from this series is:
Jenni Carlson 12:12 p.m. Not sure if this is all your question or not, Nate, but as for national perception, I really can't speak to that. You'd have to ask people elsewhere, and frankly, I haven't had the opportunity to do that.
roger 12:12 p.m. apparently Bo bowling is claiming he was not contacted. Should SI have contacted him especially that the story starts off with him?
Jenni Carlson 12:12 p.m. My two cents: I think it would've been a good idea to contact him. Necessary? No. A good idea? Yes.
Nate 12:13 p.m. Regarding national perception, I would like to know if people (outside of Stillwater) feel the series' take-away is: A. D1 football in general is rotten. or B. OSU is particularly rotten.
Jenni Carlson 12:13 p.m. Oops, here's Nate's question ...
Jenni Carlson 12:14 p.m. Oh, I suspect more people believe that big-time football in general is rotten, but clearly, OSU is now a school that has been added to the list of schools with scandals.
Jef 12:14 p.m. I think it would be eye-opening to hear those tapes and understand how the sources for the material were questioned, if they were led to certain conclusions, if words were put in their mouths, etc. How does OSU get it's hands on those recordings? Is that something that requires legal maneuvers?
Jenni Carlson 12:15 p.m. I'm not entirely sure to be honest with you, Jef. I suspect it might take some legal maneuvers, but SI could do a lot to help its credibility with some of these things if it just went ahead and released the recordings.
harry man 12:15 p.m. OK reportes hear much but print less. WHY...Why didn't those few former players contact the daily oklahoman? why...Sports illustrated has the news. why not OKC.
Jenni Carlson 12:16 p.m. SI has said that these players didn't approach them. They approached the players. We would've had no reason to approach those players because payouts and academic fraud and the like isn't anything we've ever heard was a big problem at OSU. If we heard that it was, we would've investigated.
Guest 12:17 p.m. I find today's story more disturbing than the first two. Again, however, I find it hard to believe that all this was happening at the rate they are claiming. It seems with Installment 3, as with the first two that SI is relying on the word of a few disgruntled ex-players.
Jenni Carlson 12:17 p.m. The thing that stood out to me -- OSU needs a licensed drug counselor. Period. Not having someone properly qualified for that role is bad news.
Ryan 12:17 p.m. Many respected people in their professions can and do make mistakes after having enjoyed a long, successful career. Pulitzer Prize winners are no exception. Dorhman made a big mistake by putting his name on this in my opinion.
Pokefan 12:18 p.m. It doesn't seem to me that OSU fans are saying none of this happened. We are mad because they are only telling one side, with lots of holes and very weak sources with absolutely no physical proof. I think we all want to know the truth, but we feel SI isn't presenting even close to the truth.
harry man 12:18 p.m. Will TBOONE PICKENS Sue ? seems like the thing to do. Money-Politics-and etc. rules this state and country....
Jenni Carlson 12:18 p.m. We've been given no indication that Boone will sue. What would he have to sue for anyway? He hasn't been implicated or libeled or anything of the sort.
Grannie 12:18 p.m. I'm not naive. I know hat at the university level, there are always going to be problems. However, I think SI has tried to make a mountain out of a molehill. Now, our administration needs to work on eradicating the molehill.
Mark 12:19 p.m. I don't think many OSU fans are running around claiming nothing is true. I feel most OSU fans problem is the lack of context provided combined with Evans. Evans name is one thing, Evans name combined with the fact the zero context is provided is what makes most people mad.
dooby 12:19 p.m. Gina, wouldn't the stars hide it because they have a sense of loyalty? Remember, it's always the bad apples who blow the whistles. Ask SMU. He wasn't credible either.
Jenni Carlson 12:20 p.m. Dooby (ironic name for today, isn't it?), I agree that the stars could be hiding things. The difference is, if evidence is produced that they're lying, they have more to lose. Like what if a Russell Okung lies. As an NFL player, he has a reputation that could get damaged. But if a guy living in his mom's basement lies, does he have as much to lose? Maybe not.
Jimmy 12:20 p.m. On the lighter side of things... as an OSU fan, it makes me proud to know that our team was paying players, cheating in school and doing drugs for TEN YEARS!!! without getting caught! Rhett Bomar has a fake job for a month during the summer is kicked out by August. Are OSU's 18-23 year olds just that much better at keeping secrets?!?!?
Jenni Carlson 12:21 p.m. A little humor. Thanks, Jimmy.
harry man 12:21 p.m. OK all of these individuals that have said something to get the mess started compared to former players who say THIS IS NOT TRUE. I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANY OF THAT. just get on TB BOONE PICKENS field and have it OUT. winner take all. whay ya think. readers and Gina. harry man
Jenni Carlson 12:21 p.m. That'd be a heck of an "alumni game".
Chris 12:21 p.m. If you want the kids on the bench to be quiet about what they see with other players getting paid, of course they are going to get paid too.
Guest 12:22 p.m. A lot of today's article seems to argue that the athletic department didn't provide enough resources to those players that tested positive. Does the university have a duty to all of its students to provide resources such as counseling and rehab? Does the athletic department have a higher duty to provide those to athletes?
Jenni Carlson 12:22 p.m. The university at large isn't testing students, to my knowledge, so I don't believe the school has any obligation to provide non-athletes with counseling or rehab. ...
Jenni Carlson 12:23 p.m. The athletic department is motivated to provide those services, in part, because they want athletes to get off the stuff, stop testing positive and not get kicked off the team.
Jim 12:23 p.m. Yahoo story says they have documented the story with some type of "paper trail". My thought and big concern with the SI story is that they have none of that. Doesn't it really cheapen a story if everything is just hearsay? If they had some documented things then then "statements" might have some validity but with out it I think it just looks like a witch hunt.
Jenni Carlson 12:24 p.m. Jim, what someone says can carry a story, but you'd better be sure that source's word is pure and true. You'd better trust that source. So, the question becomes: should the sources that SI used be trusted? You can come to your own conclusions.
Teetime 12:25 p.m. Big G, most are going into this blindly whether it be for loyalty for their favorite team or school. Seems there are many at Penn State that still think it was some kind of conspiracy to bring down their school.
Jenni Carlson 12:25 p.m. Excellent point.
AB 12:25 p.m. Do think the NCAA investigation on Dez Bryant should have turned up some of these things if they were so prevelant? They didn't have anything on him other than not telling the truth about who he ate lunch with. And he was hammered!!
Jenni Carlson 12:26 p.m. I'm not sure how that investigation went down. Who did the NCAA talk to? What did they ask? I don't know the answers to questions like that. Should it have turned up this? Unless the NCAA wants to tell us more about how they did that investigation, I don't know the answer to that question.
Colonel Nathan Jessup 12:26 p.m. Now...are these really the questions I was called here to answer? Phone bills and foot lockers? Please tell me that you have something more Thayer Evens!
Kevin 12:26 p.m. Is Tudman officially the "drug counselor" or is he just someone the staff sends players to as a first response? Is there truly a drug counselor on staff>
Jenni Carlson 12:27 p.m. According to the story, he was put in charge of drug counseling for the football team.
Guest 12:27 p.m. Did Thayer Evans ever work for The Oklahoman? Did he ever intern at The Oklahoman?
Jenni Carlson 12:27 p.m. Yes, and yes.
Robin G 12:28 p.m. I've heard that Evans is not a "stand up guy" in his reporting. I know you don't want to throw one of your own in front of a bus... but really, any coverage on how many stories that's been rebuked, challenged or falsley reported?
Jenni Carlson 12:28 p.m. I have no idea. Our guy Anthony Slater is working on a story about Thayer. Look for it to appear in the coming days.
Mark B 12:28 p.m. Unfortunately, it seems that Thayer Evans does not have the same journalistic integrity as you if what we are hearing from his interview subjects is true.
Jenni Carlson 12:28 p.m. I know this was directed at Gina, but I'll make sure she see it, Mark B.
Guest 12:29 p.m. How does this impact SI's image? My major is journalism: the number one rule is to be objective and present both sides. This appears to be one-sided, even if it's all true.
Jenni Carlson 12:29 p.m. An interesting point, for sure. It would've been interesting to see some names of starters and standouts in these stories, too. Not just implicated but interviewed.
Jef 12:29 p.m. Am I persona non-grata? I've submitted several questions and have yet to see one answered.
Jenni Carlson 12:30 p.m. Jef, sorry, but we're just going in order of when the questions were submitted. Not trying to leave anyone out. Just trying to do our best.
David 12:30 p.m. Do you think SI will report the real names of any of the Orange Pride? Will they stoop that low into the gutter?
Jenni Carlson 12:30 p.m. That story posts tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Brian 12:30 p.m. There is a lot to this report, but you simply can't ignore the players that have come out in support of the program plus the measured responses coming from the OSU side. From my perspective, this is giving OSU a national audience / podium from which to sell their football program to potential recruits. From the story about Terry Henley and the Father figure angle to the woman who runs the academics oversight piece, this is great, free marketing for the University. My 2 cents. Some of the allegations might be true but most of this is SI writing a sensational, 5 part drip story, rush to print in time for football season piece to sell magazines and ad space.
StanTheMan 12:31 p.m. Does Lamar have any chance of making it a game this weekend?
Jenni Carlson 12:31 p.m. An actual on-field question?!? Holy cow!!! ...
Jenni Carlson 12:31 p.m. To answer your question, Stan: No.
Jenni Carlson 12:32 p.m. All right, folks, I'm going to step away and let our sports editor Mike Sherman take over for a bit. Thanks for all the great questions!
Mike Sherman 12:32 p.m. Greetings folks, I'm back.
AZCowboy 12:32 p.m. The articles appear to contradict each other. Yesterday it was reported that OSU gave the players grades they did not earn so they could maintain eligible status, yet today's article says one of the players drug use was so bad that he failed out of school. How can a player fail out of school if the school is giving the player grades he didn't earn?
Mike Sherman 12:34 p.m. Appear to contradict is the key phrase. Obviously, there's some context missing, which as I've said before is a challenge for Sports Illustrated in it's writing. But when you making sweeping statements about a program's drug and academic cultures, you're leaving the door open to those kinds of questions.
Guest 12:34 p.m. With these investigative reports lurking around corners now to catch something, do you think this affects how coaches will allow access to their program. How will it affect non-investigative journalists?
Mike Sherman 12:37 p.m. The average BCS school football coach is already leery of reporters, so this will make some moreso? I'd say yes. But it really doesn't take much. They want to eliminate anything that gets in the way of their process of building a football team. However, your statement that investigative reporters are lurking around corners is hyperbole. These reporters? In most cases they're talking to people who haven't played a down of football in five years or more. I'm not sure how much time they spent in Stillwater.
Guest 12:38 p.m. I've heard that there will likely be a number of former football players attending the game on Saturday to show support for the program and university - Jenni / Mike, have you heard anything like this from any former players?
Mike Sherman 12:39 p.m. It's common for former OSU playerts to attend Cowboy games. I wouldn't be surprised to see more there Saturday in light of this, and thanks for the tip. We'll check it out.
Guest 12:39 p.m. We have no idea how many student athletes have actually gotten help from OSU. We have read no numbers that show how many were sent to rehab paid for by the school. We have no numbers to show how many student athlete's have been bettered because of their time at OSU. All we've seen/read are the negative numbers from the negatives themselves. That is one problem with this series. It is all bad and no good! We all know that some of the bad happens. It happens period. But we also know that the good happens. Yet there is no mention of that.
Mike Sherman 12:42 p.m. Well, we never will see numbers of players sent to rehab because disclosing that would be breaking the law. Every time there's a graduation ceremony that's a display of a university doing it's job. I can't speak for any other media outlet, but I know our goal is to tell the story of each beat we cover -- the complete story. I think Sports Illustrated's investigation has focused on allegations and problems. But SI in general has reported on Oklahoma State's success quite a bit. The Cowboys have been coverboys at least twice and maybe more during the Gundy years.
A New Englander 12:42 p.m. I've read above that Thayer Evans worked at the Oklahoman. What would you be willing to reveal, Mr. Sherman, about your interactions with him at the Oklahoman, if any?
Mike Sherman 12:45 p.m. I wasn't here when Thayer worked at The Oklahoman. I became sports editor in 2003. He was a freelancer working out of Houston then and submitted I'd say a half-dozen to dozen stories that we published. Most were on OU football commitments, if memory serves me. I've seen him at games from time to time and talked to him. He wrote a story for the New York Times that I admired: It was on the death of Mandrell Dean, a former OKC area high school legend killed in a home invasion that he committed. Thayer covered the funeral and wrote what I thought was a big-time story.
DGG 12:46 p.m. The O'Colly is doing a great job talking to former athletes and some who were quoted. Not a question, just an observation.
Mike Sherman 12:46 p.m. I would agree.
BJR-Tulsa 12:46 p.m. Mike- I'm not a journalist, so the whole process of investigative reporting is a little fuzzy to me. How long would it take to put together such a large sweeping 5-part expose' such as this? SI has stated that they have been working for 10 months on the piece, but how long does it take to get the story into a format that is ready to publish?
Mike Sherman 12:50 p.m. It varies. I can't imagine they've been working on this for 10 months uninterrupted. That's probably from start to finish. In Nashville I worked at The Tennessean and my managing editor was the investigative editor for the Lexington, Ky. paper that broke the story on the Kentucky basketball scandal that involved Emery envelopes and cash payments to Chris Mills. The work on that and most projects does not go in a straight line. The level of fact-checking does and should go far beyond a check of the archives and Google. Most of the time fact-checkers are brought in to confirm each fact in the story. There are more levels of editing. As Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis tweeted Monday, their editors have editors and their lawyers have lawyers. Now, that's the process. The product is what we're discussing.
StanTheMan 12:50 p.m. How long do you leave Walsh in before bringing in Chelf in Saturday's scrimmage?
Mike Sherman 12:51 p.m. I'd say the over-under is halftime, StanTheMan
Mike Sherman 12:51 p.m. I might take the over.
Guest 12:52 p.m. What Happens If You Drink Bleach? If you are wondering what happens if you drink bleach. People have done this and lived to tell the tale. Drinking a small amount of bleach won't kill you, particularly if you dilute it in water, but it is corrosive and can irritate or damage your mucous membranes and esophagus. Ingesting a few milliliters of bleach most likely will irritate your eyes, nose and throat and may cause nausea and vomiting and possibly diarrhea. Drinking a larger volume of bleach can hurt or kill you. The toxicity results from the chlorine gas that is produced, the corrosivity of bleach and ingestion of sodium (hypernatremia). Chest pain, low blood pressure, shock and possibly coma or death may result from either inhaling too much bleach or drinking it.
Mike Sherman 12:52 p.m. There you go: News you can use. Important safety tip: Don't drink bleach, and if you do, it's better to sip...
Guest 12:52 p.m. The Bottom Line Drinking bleach won't help you pass a drug test and may make you sick or dead.... You see what some of these players would have learned had they been placed in Intro to Chemistry... I blame the school for this.
Mike Sherman 12:53 p.m. Thanks for mixing it up, Guest. We can use it.
A New Englander 12:53 p.m. Thanks Mr. Sherman. Do you think Thayer Evans had it out for Oklahoma State Football?
Mike Sherman 12:54 p.m. I don't know. I do know that it's a problem for him and Sports Illustrated that anyone who Googles his name can easily find references to "Chokie State" and "Boomer Sooner" in his writing. That's a problem.
Dont Shoot the Messenger 12:54 p.m. Thayer is, by far, the best, most brightest, most professional writer I have ever had the opportunity to work with. He dots all his I's and crosses all his T's before submitting anything. He takes pride in his work and does a bang-up job. Anyone who disses him is either following the herd, or has an obvious bias in favor of OSU.
Mike Sherman 12:56 p.m. I have enjoyed my conversations with Thayer, and as I said, I admired that Mandrell Dean story. I told Tom Jolley, who was then the sports editor of the New York Times, that I was jealous of that story. But I can't see how anyone would think that what he wrote about OSU in that Fox Sports account of the OSU-Texas game isn't a problem in light of this series.
Guest 12:57 p.m. You are obviously distracted. Let Carlson or someone else host. At least they are timely and rythmic with Q & A's.
Mike Sherman 12:57 p.m. I'll speed up.
Guest 12:57 p.m. Mike: What was your season prediction for OSU's record to start the season, and has it changed (better or worse) with all this coming out?
Mike Sherman 12:58 p.m. I can't remember the exact record I predicted. I think it might of been 10-2. I picked OSU to win the Big 12. I don't this really changes much as far as predictions for this season.
A New Englander 12:58 p.m. Thanks again Mr. Sherman. This may have been asked already, but should coaches Gundy and Miles be worried about the consequences of this story? Also, could Don't Shoot the Messenger identify themselves, and speak to when and in what way they interacted with Mr. Evans?
Mike Sherman 1:00 p.m. Actually, I'd be more concerned if I was Les Miles. I don't know if he still aspires to coach at Michigan still, but if he does the road to Ann Arbor isn't smoother with this kind of stuff floating around. Gundy should be concerned. It's his program under a white-hot spotlight. And I'm sure he is concerned. As for Shoot the Messenger identifying himself, how about if everyone on this chat starts doing that. I'm the only one with a first and last name on here right now. Worry about the splinter in your own eye, A New Englander.
billybob 1:01 p.m. werent there video cameras in the locker room of osu's 2001 bedlam victory.....would that show if boosters were indeed in the locker room?
Mike Sherman 1:02 p.m. Good question: The visiting locker room at Owen Field is one cramped place now, and was way worse back in the day. There are no non-university cameras in locker rooms these days. I don't know what the story was back then, and I sure don't know how long cameras were on in there if they were at all.
Lance 1:02 p.m. Mike, it's not just the Fox Sports account. His SI recap of the Fiesta Bowl more or less was him vomiting on OSU.
Mike Sherman 1:02 p.m. I wasn't attempting to be comprehensive.
ATX 1:02 p.m. Several times over the last few days the word “Odd” has been used by the journalist at the DOK when responding to a question from a reader that one might conclude seems like something that most certainly should have been covered/reported on in the 3 articles that have been published so far…What strikes you as most Odd about what you seen published so far.
Mike Sherman 1:03 p.m. I like that word: Odd. Short. Fits great in a one-column headline. Working at newspapers for 20-something years gives you an appreciation of short words that say a lot.
Mike Sherman 1:05 p.m. There's been plenty of odd statements and reactions to this series. If I had to say something was odd, I'd say it's odd to hire someone as a drug counselor when they aren't qualified. I think it's odd to not include context of someone making allegations, for instance that they got kicked off the team for "violating team rules." It weakened the story in my opinion.
Dont Shoot the Messenger 1:06 p.m. Even if it was Barry Switzer himself who wrote the article, the most important thing to remember is this: is it the truth? Because in the end, that's all that matters. And believe you me, both OSU and the NCAA will find out the truth, whatever it may be. And I think it is safe to say that what is alleged in this series goes further -- much further -- than just a hint of the truth.
Guest 1:06 p.m. Mike, ESPN followed OSU into the locker room after the 2001 game. They had been following OU all week for a program and were denied access to the Sooners locker room after the loss.
Mike Sherman 1:07 p.m. But how long were they in there? Saying it couldn't have happened because an ESPN camera didn't capture it doesn't fly. The cameras leave before players and coaches.
Jared 1:07 p.m. Is this the most busy the DOK Sports department has been in awhile? If so, what other stories have rivaled the time and attention this story has caused?
Mike Sherman 1:08 p.m. We were busier two weeks ago putting out the Football Section. During daytime, business hours this is right up there. But every night there's a game for Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, the Thunder or high school football, high school championships: It's like election night in sports.
Mark B 1:10 p.m. The story today states that Gundy kicked Bowling off the team when he was busted (duh) but didn't launch an investigation into whether this was rampant in the program. First, how would he know this? Second, if he has no reason to think this is rampant and widespread why would he investigate? I just thought this was more of the author putting his own spin and opinion in the article and passing them as fact.
Mike Sherman 1:10 p.m. 1) I don't know how he knows that. Maybe he asked. MIght have been good to use some attribution there.
Mike Sherman 1:11 p.m. 2) If you've got a player dealing drugs, don't you have reason to wonder who he's selling to? Seems like a logical question.
Guest 1:11 p.m. Why would boosters have brought money to the OU game? It was in Norman, where there are thousands of people and employees at the stadium who would love to turn OSU in? And OSU was supposed to get killed that day? Did the boosters show up to hand out money after a blow out loss, which is what everyone thought was going to happen? That story is ridiculous. How do you guys believe that?
Mike Sherman 1:13 p.m. 1. It's been my experience that back before the days of ATMs, it wasn't uncommon for rich folks to have quite a bit of cash handy. I'm not saying that makes me believe or disbelieve that. Just don't tell me it's odd for boosters to have money on them.
A New Englander 1:13 p.m. Fair enough Mr. Sherman, you're putting more on the line than I'm willing. My point is that Don't Shoot The Messenger is claiming to have professional ties to Mr. Evans, and I'm confident that you and I would value what he was saying more if he put a name to his writings. Additionally, thanks to Lance for posting the Mr. Evans link.
Guest 1:14 p.m. I live outside of Oklahoma. I know this story is an obsession in Oklahoma. But where I am, people view this as a shrug. The money alleged is not very large, and most people assume college jocks get help in class and that many young people smoke pot. This article is not really very sensational to most non OU or OSU fans.
Mike Sherman 1:14 p.m. Fair enough. Thanks for the perspective.
Guest 1:14 p.m. OSU Athletics also posted some of its own post-2001 video a few years ago:
Cronkite 1:14 p.m. I thought today's story was contradictory...taking OSU to task for not kicking players off team...and taking OSU to task for not doing more to help players.
Jared 1:15 p.m. Is this story growing old for you and the rest of the writers to cover? Or has the way SI broke up the story by topic kept if fresh for you guys?
Mike Sherman 1:17 p.m. The stories have inspired lots of comments, questions and vigorous conversation. I don't think that stuff gets old. I don't have a preference. We're looking for ways to advance the story and answer questions that arise out of it for our readers. To be doing that and providing a service is rewarding and never grows old.
Guest 1:17 p.m. I have a hard time following what SI's theme in today's article was. What exactly did OSU do wrong? They are saying on the one hand OSU didn't have good enough counseling. Okay. But then they also complain about kicking people off the team and being too soft on drugs, I think. Should OSU have kicked people off? let t hem stay with better counseling? I can't tell what SI thinks OSU should have done.
Mike Sherman 1:19 p.m. I mentioned this before and I think others have to: the biggest problem for OSU out of today's story in my opinion is the qualifications of its drug counselor. But it's pretty clear that one of its other mistakes was in recruiting a bunch of guys who admit they love to smoke pot, and that's really what has come back to bite the program in this case.
Jared 1:19 p.m. I saw yesterday that Yahoo Sports had a story about under the table payments that 5 (or so) SEC players from different schools had received. Their story had documentation and text evidence. The SI story has provided none of that. Is one a better style of investigative journalism or do they both have merit?
Mike Sherman 1:21 p.m. I was impressed about the depth of document-based reporting in the Yahoo! Sports report, and the fact that I could view those documents on my Iphone. Nifty. That said, I think the nature of the two stories is completely different. When you've got agents involved, there tends to be more check writing and invoices. When you're relying on human sources more than documents, there's obviously greater risk.
Randy 1:21 p.m. Bo Bowling is a story of a kid getting his stuff together and being allowed to earn back a spot with the team. I understand that next week the SI article will present the OSU program as not caring about the players they let go. Having cake and eating it, too?
Mike Sherman 1:22 p.m. We shall see.
Guest 1:22 p.m. Can you please stop putting up editorial statements by DOn't shoot the messenger? HE is obviously an OU troll. You have no way of knowing if he knows anything about Thayer Evans.
Mike Sherman 1:23 p.m. Why should I stop including anyone's statements? Like I said, I'm the only person her writing under my real and full name. Two-thirds of what's posted are "editorial statements."
Guest 1:23 p.m. Why does OSU owe their players drug counseling at all? And beyond that, a majority of this country thinks pot should be legal. And a large number of young people smoke it, especially in inner city areas where a lot of recruits come from. So how does this make OSU look bad? And did OSU have reason to know these guys liked to smoke pot when they recruited them? Should OU be on the hook for recruiting a player who loved pain pills?
Mike Sherman 1:24 p.m. To answer your first question: Yes. It does. A program that espouses that it exists to make young people's dreams come true is obligated to help those young people get over the rough spots.
Mike Sherman 1:26 p.m. Secondly, the fact that " a large number of young people smoke it, especially in inner city areas where a lot of recruits come from," does not make OSU look bad, unless they know that very fact and don't have a qualified drug counselor. If you don't want to deal with drug problems, I've got a simple answer: Drug test recruits and drop your scholarship offer to anyone who doesn't pass.
Mike Sherman 1:28 p.m. Is OU "on the hook" for recruiting a palyer who loved pain pills? I have no idea what Austin Box loved when OU recruited him, but I seriously doubt he came from Enid with a problem with pain pills. His injuries and resulting pain from them inspired that from all reports. His access to pain pills remains a question that needs to be looked into and thanks for reminding me.
Darryl 1:29 p.m. No allegations of steroid use by OSU players. That's a relief (or an oversight on part of Evans?).
Guest 1:29 p.m. If they are obligated to help people, why then are they wrong to recruit kids who have problems? On the one hand you are saying, they owe kids help getting over their problems. But then on the other, you are saying that they shouldn't be recruiting kids with problems. So you only get help if you have the problem develop once you are there?
Mike Sherman 1:31 p.m. I was taking your stance. If you don't think you're obligated to help people who encounter drug problems then don't accept people who demonstrate they have them to start with. My thoughts: There's drugs in our culture and it's the obligation of cultural institutions like universities to help people who they provide services to to help them deal with that problem. You can't go sticking your head in the sand.
Guest 1:31 p.m. Drug test recruits and drop your scholarship offer to anyone who doesn't pass. Yeah, that will draw a lot of recruits. How about we tell kids not to use drugs and if they do, they have to live with the consequences? These are adults. They are over 18. My employer doesn't owe me drug counseling. I wasn't eligible for free drug counseling when I was a student. Why are football players different?
Mike Sherman 1:32 p.m.
They aren't.
Sammy Nixon 1:33 p.m. Mike, this as I've noted before, as a guest, I'm a journalism major. This whole thing is a perfect case study for aspiring journalists: imagine this: SI would have known all of the questions that would be asked: now, go write the story with all the questions answered. Your thoughts, please.
Mike Sherman 1:35 p.m. Sammy, I like good questions but you haven't asked one. Your thoughts please isn't a question. It's a request. It reminds me of those press conferences when a reporter asks Kevin Durant to "talk about his performance." You can do better. Ask me a question.
Guest 1:35 p.m. So what you are saying Mike is that if a kid comes to OSU and uses drugs, the coaches should either kick him off the team or keep in on the team with counseling. Giving him a second chance without counseling is bad. Maybe, but I don't see how it is any worse than putting him on the street.
Mike Sherman 1:36 p.m. That's not what I said. Is it possible you didn't read what I typed?
Steven Goss 1:36 p.m. For the fifth time, why is everyone coming down so hard on OSU's drug program when the NFL didn't even detect PCP for a year that Aaron Hernandez was using. Obviously the Patriots knew about it and told him to lay low before they cut him. I am all for OSU doing better but you are demanding a high standard at OSU without even talking about how much better OSU is now than the NFL and the Patriots.
Mike Sherman 1:36 p.m. Got to step away for a quick second. Be right back.
Mike Sherman 1:39 p.m. I can't see how the Patriots have anything to do with this
Mike Sherman 1:41 p.m. Fath Carter's allegations contradicted here. Good information.
Guest 1:41 p.m. For those wondering what Bo Bowling is doing now, he's playing in the CFL for the Montreal Alouettes. AT least he was as of last year, I'm assuming he still is this year. Check out his nice, and first, TD grab from last season.
Mike Sherman 1:41 p.m. I'm told Sam Mayes from The Franchise 107.7 had a good interview with Bo Bowling today on his show.
Sammy Nixon 1:42 p.m. Fair enough: Do you think SI has been irresponsible in it's reporting? What would you do if you were the current editor in chief at SI?
Mike Sherman 1:46 p.m. I would say getting facts wrong that could easily been checked out is by definition irresponsible. ESPN's Brett McMurphy just posted a story that showed some of Fath Carter's statements don't jibe with OSU admission record. I am not throwing stones . Wev'e made errors before and we've had errors that can and should have been caught in advance. That's irresponsible. It means you didn't take the responsibility of checking it out. There's an old saying: If your momma says she loves you, check it out. This drives that home.
I don't now what I would do if I was the editor in chief at SI because I don't know what I know about this story.
Ed 1:46 p.m. Bo Bowling is being interviewed now by channels 4, 5 and 9 at his old High School football field.
Cronkie 1:46 p.m. Mike - Carter's allegations aren't contradicted. They are proven to be false. Said another way: he lied. Now the question: does a source who lied once, twice, three times...have any credibility?
Mike Sherman 1:48 p.m. Chronkie, you're write. Poor word choice on my part. Proven to be false.
Marty 1:48 p.m. This expose has a lot of holes. Kudos to you Mr. Sherman for deciphering the truth!
Guest 1:48 p.m. From the ESPN article Carter also told SI that he and Bell were in the same classes and got A's and then had the same instructor again in 2004 but both got F's, Carter said. "I'd guess that there was pressure (on the instructor) to give us those A's when we were playing, but not when we weren't," Carter told SI. However, Bell wasn't at Oklahoma State in 2004. He withdrew from school after the 2003 fall semester, according to his OSU transcript that he provided to ESPN. "I withdrew from school after the (Jan. 2, 2004) Cotton Bowl," Bell said. "I was never enrolled in 2004 and never attended classes in 2004." Thayer Evans didn't bother to check and see if Bell was even in school? That is pretty bad isn't it? That is lazy journalism or hack journalism depending on your point of view.
Mike Sherman 1:50 p.m. As I mentioned earlier, if it can be checked out and verified it must be. Mistakes erode the credibility of a story.
billybob 1:50 p.m. im just imagining a journalism professor going fact check people fact check!
Mike Sherman 1:51 p.m. The voice of Ray Tassin, the good Lord rest his soul, is echoing in my head.
Katy 1:51 p.m. Looks like ESPN is now investigating the legitimacy of Carter's stories and proving that his story is inaccurate.
billybob 1:51 p.m. could ESPN use the errors in the story to discredit SI and eliminate competition?
Mike Sherman 1:52 p.m. Could it? Yes. Is it? No. If that's the motivation, you don't get to be where ESPN is.
Guest 1:52 p.m. Pretty good success story for OSU and Bo Bowling, I would say.
Tom 1:53 p.m. Do you not think that all of the things in the article have some basis. Do not all of these things happen to a certain extent at all schools. I think public perception outside state lines is, not that interested.
JR 1:54 p.m. Good teaching opportunity, Mike!
Jared 1:54 p.m. Sammy is fortunate to get some good encouragement from such a seasonsed reporter here. Thanks for doing this chat.
Mike Sherman 1:54 p.m. Tom, Unfortunately, "some basis." is not a very high standard and certainly not high enough for journalist.
Guest 1:55 p.m. Maybe this has already been discussed, but what do you think the commercial would look like from Sports Illustrated to promote their commemorative issue/video if OSU won the national championship this year? Judy in the order room hearing crickets? :)
Mike Sherman 1:55 p.m. I'm not sure what to make of that
Guest 1:56 p.m. There just seem to be so many easy things that could have been verified that were not. I am told that the original draft of the story shown to OSU referred to Vernon Grant as being alive and had to be corrected by OSU. Now the stuff about Carter. All that stuff could have been easily fact checked and wasn't. That reflects pretty poorly on SI. It is one thing to be lied to. It is another to make no effort to make sure you don't print that lie.
Mike Sherman 1:57 p.m. I don't know how anyone would know what the original draft of the story said. There's a sea of information and allegations in this story. And they all needed to be checked out, which might answer some of the question about why it took 10 months.
Guest 1:57 p.m. Judy in he order room hearing crickets? Now that's funny!!!!
Mike Sherman 1:58 p.m. The questions are winding down and so am I. Thanks for the conversation. I hope I got to most of the relevant questions and made this worth your time.


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