We've finally answered the question that's been on the minds of OSU fans for days. Why did Sports Illustrated come after the Cowboys?
Because first Les Miles and then Mike Gundy recruited a bunch of dumbasses.
What else to surmise after the third installment Thursday, this one on what SI calls a long-standing drug culture within the Cowboy football program?
And there's not much to argue about on this one. Forget SI's claim. Gundy's own actions, dismissing more than 15 Cowboys in recent years for what obviously were failed drug tests, spotlight the problem.
That's what knuckleheads do. They smoke marijuana. They skip class. They get kicked off the team. They start babbling when Sports Illustrated knocks on their door.
Doesn't mean everything they say is a lie, though holes in their testimony are starting to appear and the PR battleship is starting to turn OSU's way and might not turn back, unless the sex segment trumps the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Not bloody likely.
Just means they're goofballs. And OSU itself let the foxes in the henhouse.
Defensive end William Bell told Sports Illustrated he was a “borderline pothead” when he arrived as a freshman in 2004. Everyone wants to question SI's credibility, but this stuff, you can't make up.
So Gundy and Co. have a decision to make. Quit recruiting numskulls, or be prepared to deal with them in a better way.
Which leads us to installment three and the much more damning of OSU than the money and the academic parts. The reason?
State did not have a strong drug policy nor a strong drug counseling program. You need to have both. You have to have one, else you'll be left with the mess the Cowboys currently endure.
OSU's four-strikes policy is weak. That needs to change.
And the hiring of Joel Tudman as drug counselor, when he wasn't really anything more than a strength coach and spiritual adviser, is not a sign of seriousness. And that's not even factoring in Tudman's falsified biography.
Tudman does not have a master's degree in counseling, as he purported, and is not a licensed drug counselor. This work needs to be left with professionals.
The potheads railed against OSU's lack of drug counseling, which, I know, is ironic. But in some ways, they have a point.
Better to have no drug counseling at all than ineffective drug counseling. Just stiffen up the drug tests and let automatic dismissal serve as the deterrent.
But best to have both. Strong testing policy, plus strong counseling.
Yes, I know, drugs are a problem on every college campus, football or not. But college athletic programs have a unique opportunity to influence young people.
Every William Bell who's not a football player, every borderline pothead who leaves home for the first time, shows up on campus with no incentive to clean up.
Football coaches and their staffs provide plenty of incentive to clean up. Playing time. A scholarship. Status on the team and all the perks that go with it.
Gundy deserves credit, because he has cleaned up his program, to some degree. The stories are legion of how Gundy had to sweep up after Miles departed, and SI's reports certainly support that. Virtually all of the allegations, in every installment, stem from 2007 or before, and the majority are pre-2005, when Gundy took over.
But it would be even better if OSU could clean up more lives. That's happened some. Strengthen the substance abuse program, and it could clean up many more.
Remember Monday, when AD Mike Holder said that in some ways, Sports Illustrated is to be thanked, for bringing problems to OSU's attention. I don't know how his heart could have been all in it at that point.
But it can be now. The Cowboys seem to be weathering the storm, and SI gave OSU a valuable reminder. If you're going to recruit potheads, borderline or not, be prepared to deal with them.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.