Oklahoma State football: Sports Illustrated report expected to reveal alleged improprieties in Cowboys' program

by Berry Tramel and Gina Mizell Modified: September 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm •  Published: September 7, 2013

An upcoming Sports Illustrated report will detail a wide range of corruption in the Oklahoma State football program dating back to the Les Miles era. Among the allegations are academic fraud, players being paid for performance by an assistant coach or overpaid by boosters for jobs, and an OSU hostess program that provided sex for recruits.

The Sports Illustrated series is scheduled to begin within a few days.

“Oklahoma State University is deeply troubled by these claims,” OSU president Burns Hargis said in a press release. “We will investigate the accuracy of the allegations and take all appropriate action. We do not condone or tolerate improper conduct in our athletic programs. OSU requires everyone affiliated with the university to follow the rules and adhere to the highest ethical standards.”

Kevin Klintworth, OSU’s senior associate athletic director for communications, said the university has been told by Sports Illustrated that there are no eligibility or NCAA concerns regarding current staff or players.

A source with knowledge of the project said that though the piece is not expected to reveal any major NCAA violations, OSU is likely to bring in an outside investigator to ensure the current program is in compliance with the NCAA.

OSU has been told that 85 percent of the allegations concern events between 2001 and 2007. The statute of limitations on NCAA violations is four years.

The report makes the following allegations:

* Coaches and boosters paying athletes, including violations ranging from paying for jobs not performed, overpaying for jobs and strictly paying players for performance.

Former OSU assistant coach Joe DeForest is accused of running a bonus program – paying players for specific plays – as recently as 2011.

DeForest, who spent 11 seasons at OSU, is in his second year as an assistant coach at West Virginia. Saturday, he denied the charges.

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck issued a statement, saying his school is aware of the allegations and said WVU had launched an internal review.

“While our assistant coach has denied the allegations, it is the right thing to do to look into the matter and review practices here,” Luck said.

Markelle Martin, who played safety at OSU from 2008-11, tweeted that he “never saw, heard or became apart of anything illegal. He (DeForest) treated us all like his kids, sons."

* A environment of academic impropriety, from players not attending class to grade changing to tutors doing work for players.


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...
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by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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