A Perkins man refuses to cooperate with Oklahoma State's investigation into whether he provided impermissible benefits to football players, including wide receiver Justin Blackmon, according to a report by FOXSports.com on Thursday night.
The investigation of Gannon Mendez, a 40-year-old sales representative for Scientific Resources Inc. and a golf club dealer for Cobra Gold, which began this past summer, has already led Oklahoma State to self-report violations to the NCAA. OSU associate athletics director for compliance, Kevin Fite. told FOXSports.com that Mendez will not talk to OSU and that the school has used every option available to investigate him. Fite said he has contacted Mendez numerous times, interviewed OSU players and spoken with Mendez's friends and others in Perkins.
Oklahoma State compliance officials discovered during the investigation that Mendez bought a $5 drink at a bar for a player, Fite told FOXSports.com. Additionally, the investigation revealed that two players sold Xbox 360 video game systems with a Kinect, which were gifts from the Alamo Bowl last year, to athletic department employees. All violations were self-reported to the NCAA.
“We're concerned about it like we would any potential violation, and we've reviewed it as best as we can,” Fite said. “Without any additional information, it's hard for us to take any further steps. Some of that would be some cooperation on the part of (Mendez). As a member of the community, I would think he would want to do what he could to help us.”
Fite said OSU football coach Mike Gundy told players to stop any relationships they might have with Mendez, according to the report.
Two sources told FOXSports.com that players were paid by Mendez. One source said Mendez sold signed items and that he and the player split the money.
One of those sources also said that Mendez sold player guest passes to OSU football games and that he split the money with them. The other source said all the money from the sold guest passes went to the players.
Fite said Oklahoma State has self-reported a violation to the NCAA of one player selling his guest pass to the 2010 Cotton Bowl. But the school has failed to pin down if that was connected to Mendez, Fite said.
One source said Mendez also provided OSU players with drinks and meals and took them golfing at The Golf Club at Cimarron Trails in Perkins.
Mendez's Facebook account, until recently, featured photos of Blackmon, senior wide receiver Hubert Anyiam and former Cowboy running back Kendall Hunter at his stepdaughter's birthday party, the report said. When interviewed by OSU compliance officials, Blackmon and Anyiam said they did attend the party but denied any of the alleged wrongdoing, Fite said.
Oklahoma State associate athletic director Kevin Klintworth released a statement late Thursday night, saying, "Oklahoma State University has diligently explored the claims made in an anonymous email that was sent to the university, the media and others some five months ago. The majority of the claims appear to be unfounded. We did discover a secondary infraction that was reported to the NCAA and handled another issue internally through training. "Based on the information we have gathered, we are satisfied with our findings. We will continue our review and will continue to keep the NCAA informed."