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Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma State football: Analyzing Sports Illustrated's Sex installment

by Berry Tramel Modified: September 13, 2013 at 4:50 pm •  Published: September 13, 2013

The latest Sports Illustrated installment is out, and it clearly was hastily edited after the disastrous Thursday that SI experienced with Part III. How do we know?

For one, the other installments were released shortly after 8 a.m., giving maximum shelf life for the internet day, which typically is during work hours. Most people don’t want to surf the web on their own time, they want to do it on the boss’ time. And Fridays have less shelf life than the previous four days, since people often start their weekends earlier. So getting a story posted as early as possible is optimum. Yet the Sex installment didn’t post until 11:45 a.m. or so.

Also, the installment had two clear construction errors. The end of a sentence was misplaced and run as a separate paragraph. And the words “had have” were used together; someone obviously added one of the words but neglected to take out the other. Not a huge mistake, but SI’s copy is usually pristine. When you hurry, or are on a time crunch, those things happen.

So obviously, after ESPN found discrepancies in Fath’ Carter’s testimony in Part II, SI went back over its Sex Part IV.

Who knows if Sports Illustrated removed some items? I assume so, because this was boring. We all waited for Sex on Friday, and it was a dud. In fact, if there hadn’t been so much promotion, this installment would have been spiked.

Here are the allegations:

* In 2003, one of the nation’s top recruits, had sex with two members of the Orange Pride not long after arriving in Stillwater.

He apparently didn’t sign with the Cowboys, else that would have been reported. We’re trying to figure out what national-level recruits visited OSU, but didn’t sign with the Cowboys, that season.

* OSU enhanced its Orange Pride program in 2004, despite a sex scandal involving recruits at Colorado.

OK. But SI points out that the Colorado case was not an organized group. Wouldn’t more oversight be a good thing? I mean, if you’re going to have recruits around women, wouldn’t you want to know which women were going to be around your recruits? I guess I’m not buying the notion that the Orange Pride concept is flawed. People can screw it up, pardon my French, but that’s a people problem, not a conceptual problem.

* OSU put a bigger emphasis on attracting prettier and more outgoing women for Orange Pride in 2004.

There’s no way I can say this without sounding like a clod, so I’m just going to say it. No kidding. Who wants to be around pretty and outgoing women? It would be wonderful if the world was different and lollipops grew on trees.

* More than a dozen players from 2001-11 told SI that a small number of Orange Pride members had sex with them or other prospects during recruiting visits.

Sex on college campuses. Carnal relations. I’m outraged. I’m shocked. Shocked! Really, I’ve tried to keep an open mind through this investigation. Seeing it from all sides. But this is silly. A “small number.” In all seriousness, SI might just have published an expose’ that in reality says OSU is well ahead of the morality curve.

* Artrell Woods said “there’s no other way a female can convince you to come play football at a school besides” sex. “The idea was to get (recruits) to think that if they came, it was gonna be like that all the time … girls wanting to have sex with you.”

All right. If that’s the case, then why only a “small number.” Why wouldn’t you weed out the Orange Pride members who wouldn’t have sex and fill the organization with members who were on board? And can I say something right here on now. I mean this. The one thing I’ve learned most from this series is that Artrell Woods is a clown.

* Chantal Drumgole (ne’e Sanders), an Orange Pride member in 2003-04, said there was a group within Orange Pride that did engage in sex with recruits.

We would be hard-pressed to find anyone who believes that sex never occurred between Orange Pride members and recruits. There might have been some women who used Orange Pride as a way to meet athletes, who knows?

* A former Orange Pride adviser and two former members of the football staff say coaches sometimes decided which hostesses to pair with recruits.

I’ll give SI some latitude on this one. This is a little fishy. If you’ve hired solid women to be in Orange Pride, you shouldn’t have to worry about individual pairings. Beyond geography – maybe a guy from Dallas gets paired with a gal from Dallas – I don’t see why a coach should be involved.

* A former football staff member says he and at least one other colleague were aware that certain Orange Pride members were having sex with recruits.

If so, the women should have been removed from the group immediately. Just because we know things in society go on does not mean we can condone it. Same within the Orange Pride organization.

* SI says Les Miles and Mike Gundy, as head coach, interviewed Orange Pride applicants, a practice that does not happen at three other Big 12 schools that confirmed to having hostess programs.

To me, it’s a bigger scandal if they don’t interview the women. Or at least have someone they trust interview the women. If I’m the head coach, I want to know everyone who will be interacting with my recruits on a visit. I want to know which professors they’re going to talk to, which restaurants they’re going to, which athletic personnel they’re going to talk to, which parties they’re going to. I want to know everything.

* SI say Gundy pulled the scholarship offer to a top recruit after an Orange Pride member accused him of unwanted sexual advances.

Hey, I thought Gundy and his old pal Miles were in the business of encouraging sexual activity, not discouraging it.

*  SI says that OSU officials do not deny that Orange Pride has played a prominent role in recruiting under Miles and Gundy.

Well I would think not. If it doesn’t help, they’re not going to have it. But while Mike Holder told SI that a review of the organization might be warranted in the wake of SI’s findings, I have to say, I don’t see it. The drug stuff? Yes. The academic stuff? Investigate? The money stuff? I don’t know how to start that probe, other than to check all the locks. But this? Other than telling the Orange Pride members that they’re off the squad if they have sex with a recruit, I don’t know that I’d change a thing.

* Chris Wright says that in 2001, he was chastised by assistant coach Joe DeForest for not finding a sexual partner for a recruit.

DeForest again. I have no idea if this occurred, but it’s not outside DeForest’s personality.

* Thomas Wright says that on his recruiting trip in 2002, he drank and smoked marijuana until passing out. When he awoke, he had sex with a member of Orange Pride.

I agree, terrible environment. But geez. Is anyone getting tired of these stories from 2002. That was 11 years ago. All these reports are long on the Les Miles era and short on the Mike Gundy era. That’s getting old, real fast.

* SI says Orange Pride’s growing prominence coincided with the Cowboys’ resurgence.

Yes. And it also coincided with Brad Henry getting elected governor. You’ve got to be kidding me.

* T.J. Minor, a defensive end in 2005 and 2006, recalls an Orange Pride member having sex with a recruit at a party.

At least we’re past 2004.

* Rodrick Johnson says that in December 2003, on his recruiting visit, he had sex with a non-Orange Pride member, and Johnson, Calvin Mickens and Artrell Woods say players regularly took recruits to another female student, not an Orange Pride member, for sex.

You mean there’s unorganized sex on the OSU campus? Who would have thought?

* LeRon Furr, who played at OSU in 2009 and 2010, says he didn’t have sex during his recruiting visit but knows several recruits who did. “Those girls knew that they had to show the player a good time and get them (to OSU): sex, going out, alcohol, smoking (marijuana).”

OK. It’s time to ask a question. If those Orange Pride members knew that, why not all Orange Pride members. Why have only a “small number” of Orange Pride members providing sex, if that’s what entices recruits. If you’re going to go, go large. Sports Illustrated insinuates, doesn’t say, but insinuates, that OSU was facilitating sex for recruits. But this doesn’t pass the smell test.

* SI reported that hostesses have to volunteer two hours in the football office each week, answering phones, stuffing envelopes and doing other clerical jobs. They were required to purchase as many as six outfits and had to pay for the candy, cookies, Gatorade and other treats left in players’ lockers.

You want a scandal? There’s a scandal. Why were Orange Pride members required to fund those treats or even the required clothes? That’s ridiculous.

* Former staff members admit that Orange Pride members were selected in part because of their looks.

We’re really breaking new ground here, aren’t we? Look. The objectification of women is a national problem. We’ve made some inroads at changing that, but not nearly as much as we need to. But this is embedded in our society. Sex appeal sells. Not always sex, but sex appeal. I don’t care if you’re giving the nightly news or selling meds or hosting recruits.

* SI quotes OSU psychology professor Melanie Page as asking why beautiful women are necessary to act as hostesses. She makes the completely valid point that women are objectified. She also says Gundy could take a great stand by abolishing Orange Pride.

If I was Gundy, that would be a valiant gesture. I also might consider making a deal with Sports Illustrated. He’ll drop Orange Pride when SI drops its swimsuit edition.

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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