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Former players painted unflattering picture of OSU football

Sports Illustrated's scathing report on OSU football will be released any day now, and the Cowboy brass can go about business of figuring out what's true and what's not.
by Berry Tramel Published: September 8, 2013

Heck, in that regard, this report is an indictment of Les Miles, who jumped to LSU after the 2004 season, more so than OSU. Mike Gundy and Co. can accurately claim, using Sports Illustrated as the source, that the Cowboys have cleaned up the culture.

But that still leaves us with those 60 former players and ever how many of them look back on their OSU days with disdain.

This is no time to trash whistle-blowers. This is time to analyze an organization that by its own admission exists to serve student-athletes and yet failed them on some level.

Not that OSU hasn't tried. The Sports Illustrated report apparently paints the university as a place that treated athletes as commodities. If that's true, I don't think it was purposeful.

Yes, OSU has had some players with serious drug problems. Every football program in America faces that dilemma.

A Cowboy coach Saturday told The Oklahoman about a notable player from the mid-2000s who was sent to drug rehab on the school's dime but just couldn't or wouldn't shake the addiction.

I don't believe Holder's administration, or Harry Birdwell's before him or Terry Don Phillips' before that, were callous toward athletes as people.

But somewhere along the road, apparently years ago, the Cowboys got off track. By SI's own information, OSU is doing better. But that's no reason to celebrate. It's a reason to lament, and why this is a sad Stillwater story, no matter what turns out true.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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