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Oklahoma State football: Former players, Orange Pride members paint far different picture of group than SI report

“The Sex,” Part III of Sports Illustrated's report, outlined the growth of the Orange Pride program through the coaching tenures of Les Miles and Mike Gundy. The piece focuses on the premise that girls hooked up with recruits.
by John Helsley Published: September 13, 2013

/articleid/3882621/1/pictures/2210444">Photo - An electric atmosphere is expected for Saturday’s OSU home opener against Lamar. Photo by Sarah Phipps, From The Oklahoman archives
An electric atmosphere is expected for Saturday’s OSU home opener against Lamar. Photo by Sarah Phipps, From The Oklahoman archives

Said James Thomas, a Cowboy defensive back from 2008-11: “They don't allow non-classy ladies to that organization. They were fun. They showed me around campus, took me around campus, showed me the academic center.”

The SI piece suggests a small faction of the Orange Pride girls, a “group within the group,” was involved in the sexual encounters with recruits.

One unnamed member of the organization said in the story, “People did cross the line. That's why I was only in the program for one year … It was very disturbing. When I found out, that's why I quit.”

Fredenburg, however, said she never saw such a thing on her watch.

“Not at all. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt,” Fredenburg said, “not a single girl that I was with in Orange Pride with was ever told, or asked by a coach, that she needed to have sex with a recruit.”

SI made a point of revealing that both Miles and Gundy were involved in meeting with those selected to the Orange Pride group.

Miles, in an email to SI, said: “The volunteers' role in our program was important and I wanted to stress how seriously we took their duties and responsibilities and the manner in which we expected those students to conduct themselves if they were selected for Orange Pride.”

Gundy declined to comment to SI, as he has throughout the series, so far.

Fredenburg said the meetings with Gundy were not interviews for positions, but a time to review instructions and expectations, none of which involved having sex.

“We never interviewed with Coach Gundy,” Fredenburg said, “but once the girls were selected, Coach Gundy came in at our very first meeting and he laid down the law that, ‘These are my expectations of you. These are the standards you're being held to. You will not, ever, violate this code of conduct. You will never violate the NCAA's code of conduct. If there is ever a reason to even think that you have, you will be dismissed without reason.'

“It was spelled out to us in black and white. There was no gray area, in what was expected of us. And I don't think there was a single girl in the group willing to compromise that.”

Fredenburg said the Orange Pride girls provided a friendly and familiar face throughout the recruiting process, for recruits and their families. From the pregame meal, to The Walk and out onto the field at Boone Pickens Stadium, the girls are there.

And, yes, they are sometimes paired, for a reason.

“You saw that across the board,” Fredenburg said. “Girls were strategically placed with recruits because we had something in common with them and we had something in common with their parents. We weren't just selling Oklahoma State to that recruit, we were selling it to their parents.

“They may have never heard of Oklahoma State and it was their first time on campus. We were their first impression.”

Fredenburg carries lasting impressions from her time in the Orange Pride. She said she maintains relationships with other girls from the program to this day. And through Orange Pride, she first met her husband, Cody Fredenburg, a former graduate assistant coach at OSU who is now on the coaching staff at Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas.

“It was one of my greatest privileges of my life to attend Oklahoma State and to be a member of Orange Pride,” she said. “I met my best friends. I met my husband through that organization. It provided me with incredible opportunities.”

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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