A Sports Illustrated report claims that several Oklahoma State football players, from 2001 to 2011, received payment for performance and no-show jobs.
The allegations came in the first of a five-part series, labeled “The Dirty Game”, released by the magazine on its website this morning.
The details are extremely specific, starting with former cornerback Calvin Mickens, who claimed he got $200 after a solid performance in his first career game in 2005. From there, he claims, he continued to receive payments throughout the season – including $800 from a booster after one game — and saw others receiving cash, as well.
“In separate interviews seven other former Cowboys told SI they received cash payments,” the magazine claims. “29 other OSU players were named by teammates as having also taken money.”
The report alleges that Joe DeForest, an assistant at OSU from 2001-2011 and now the special teams coordinator at West Virginia, ran much of the pay for play system. DeForest denied these charges to The Oklahoman and Sports Illustrated.
Former defensive tackle Brad Girtman, who played at OSU between 2003-04, claimed that DeForest's payments were stat-based, telling the magazine that he received $50 for quarterback hurries, between $75 to $100 for tackles and $200 to $250 for sacks.
Former wide receiver Artrell Woods claimed that quarterback Bobby Reid, who played at OSU from 2005 to 2007, received payments early in his career, when he was the starter, but as his career sputtered out, he no longer got money. Reid denied these claims to Sports Illustrated.
The report also alleges that it was common for players to receive cash-filled envelopes from boosters on the postgame plane after road games. Noted booster T. Boone Pickens was not indicated among these claims, according to the SI report.
Along with DeForest, the report claims former assistant coach Larry Porter, who coached running backs at OSU from 2002-04 and now does the same at Texas, also made payments to players.
Among the arrangements set up by DeForest, Porter and some boosters, the report claims that they paid for “scam jobs,” funneling money to players for jobs they never did.
That includes, according to the report, being paid for yardwork and other jobs around DeForest's house that they never did.
“DeForest says he compensated players who worked at his house but always ‘paid them fair market value based on services rendered,' ” the SI report states. “Oklahoma State's compliance office does not have a record of clearing a player to work for DeForest.”
This was Part 1 – titled ‘Money' – of a five-part series that will continue on the site tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., releasing a different section the next three days, followed by the finale next Tuesday. It is the cover story of the Sept. 16 magazine.
Here's a synopsis, from SI, of the remaining four parts:
*Part 2: Academics (Wednesday morning): Widespread academic misconduct, which included tutors and other OSU personnel completing coursework for players, and professors giving passing grades for little or no work, all in the interest of keeping top players eligible.
*Part 3: Drugs (Thursday morning): OSU tolerated and at times enabled recreational drug use, primarily through a specious counseling program that allowed some players to continue to use drugs while avoiding penalties. The school's drug policy was selectively enforced, with some stars going unpunished despite repeated positive tests.
*Part 4: Sex (Friday morning): OSU's hostess program, Orange Pride, figured so prominently in the recruitment of prospects that the group more than tripled in size under previous head coach Les Miles. Both Miles and Mike Gundy, then an assistant coach, took the unusual step of personally interviewing candidates. Multiple former players and Orange Pride members say that a small subset of the group had sex with recruits, a violation of NCAA rules.
*Part 5: The Fallout (next Tuesday morning): SI finds that many players who were no longer useful to the football program were cast aside, returning to worlds they had hoped to escape. Some have been incarcerated, others live on the streets, many have battled drug abuse and a few have attempted suicide.