Sports Illustrated reporter Thayer Evans, who has received immense backlash for his involvement in the five-part investigative series alleging multiple improprieties inside the Oklahoma State football program, finally responded Friday in a video interview with a fellow SI employee.
Evans, who is perceived as having a bias because he has called the school “Chokie State” and written other anti-OSU pieces throughout his career, said that is not the case.
“I have no ax to grind with Oklahoma State,” Evans said. “I really don't. I'm just doing my job here of exposing the things that have gone on at Oklahoma State during the last 12 years.”
Evans said he was not surprised by the blowback from the series. He also asked readers to reserve judgment until reading the final part, “The Fallout,” which will be released Tuesday.
“We took the time to be thorough in this,” Evans said. “And the whole thing during the entire 10 months is, this isn't just about Oklahoma State, this could be anywhere. This could be your alma mater.
“And we ask people, when we're done, look at all five parts of the series and understand what college football really is.”
REGISTRAR CONFIRMS FATH' CARTER NEVER GRADUATED
The OSU registrar's office confirmed to The Oklahoman on Friday that former Cowboy safety Fath' Carter, who told SI that he had two degrees from the school, never graduated. The registrar also confirmed that former running back Dexter Pratt, who told SI that he took all online classes in 2009, was enrolled in both online and in-person classes. Both discrepancies were first reported by ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy.
The registrar also provided enrollment documentation for former running back Tatum Bell, who told McMurphy he withdrew from school following the 2003 season and was never enrolled for the spring 2004 semester and provided his transcript as evidence. The documentation provided by the school, however, shows that Bell was indeed enrolled in the spring of 2004 but withdrew on April 8 of that year. Carter told SI that he and Bell took the same class twice, earning A's the first time in 2003 and F's the second time in 2004.
BURNS HARGIS ISSUES VIDEO RESPONSE
OSU president Burns Hargis provided a video response to the SI series Friday on the website created by the school to house official statements.
“After reading the accounts from former players, most of whom have long since left the university, we must review these matters quickly, but thoroughly, determine the truth and take whatever measures are appropriate,” Hargis said.
“Let me emphasize, whether the reporting was fair and credible is not the issue. The issue is the substance of the accusations, and it is my responsibility as OSU president to assure that the review is fair, comprehensive and thorough. And it will be.”
Hargis said he was “inspired” by former players who have expressed support for OSU this week. He also noted that he's confident in the conduct of coach Mike Gundy, athletic director Mike Holder and the academic staff.
“Sure, at OSU, we want to win,” Hargis said. “But we want to win the right way. That's the Cowboy football that will be on display (Saturday) night.”
VICTOR JOHNSON THE LATEST COWBOY TO SAY HE WAS MISLED DURING SI INTERVIEW