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OSU football/Sports Illustrated: Associate athletic director in charge of academics at OSU never interviewed by Sports Illustrated

Marilyn Middlebrook becomes the first OSU official to speak publicly since the release of the magazine's series.
BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, Published: September 11, 2013

“I taught the majority of the high-profile football players in that time,” said Curry, who is now a professor at Morehead State in Kentucky. “And I was never pressured to pass them. I never heard of another faculty member being pressured to pass an athlete. In fact, it was the exact opposite.

“If a player wasn’t performing in the classroom, I called the academic center and the advisers or position coaches, and in every single case I was told, ‘If they’re not doing the work, then fail them. They need to learn.’”

Wheatley was also a tutor for several sports, including football and men’s basketball, during the summer and fall of 2002 and noted the rules were strict. No socializing with athletes outside of the academic center. No rides around campus. No birthday cards.

And, of course, no doing the athlete’s work.

“I explained material, helped them think of paper topics, discussed strategies for studying for tests, taking notes, and going about library research,” Wheatley said. “But the work was all theirs. Furthermore, I never heard of or saw any other tutors doing work for student-athletes.

“A lot of tutoring went on in the common area of the (academic center). It would have been impossible for tutors to get away with doing work for students in that environment.”

Like Tuesday, several former OSU players refuted the allegations in Wednesday’s report.

Cooper Bassett and Andrew McGee defended senior academic counselor Terry Henley, who is portrayed as being unqualified for his position by Sports Illustrated. Fields continued his media tour, telling Dan Patrick on his radio show that nothing alleged so far involving the former Cowboy starting quarterback is true.

And Markelle Martin, who was ruled academically ineligible for the 2008 Holiday Bowl, said he never was a part of or witnessed any academic misconduct. He described late nights spent working on papers in the academic center with teammates Brodrick Brown and James Thomas.

Their tutor was sitting beside them. But the words belonged to Martin.

“We type our papers up and then they edit them for us,” Martin said of the tutor’s job. “They correct grammar issues. They correct paragraph issues. They do things of that sort, and then they make us retype the paper.”

At least one former Cowboy named in the report has stuck by his story, however. Fath’ Carter, who played at OSU from 2000-03, told News On 6 that he “definitely received a couple grades that weren’t merited, and that was the norm, too.”

There’s still more to come in the investigation of OSU. Thursday’s story will focus on an alleged drug culture. Friday’s on Orange Pride girls allegedly providing sex to recruits. Next Tuesday’s on “the fallout” of players since leaving the school.

But Wednesday’s installment centered around the branch of the program that belongs to Middlebrook. And when describing the outpour of support she had received from current and former athletes and staff members throughout the day, tears welled in her eyes.

“Beyond my greatest expectation,” she said. “It’s heartfelt to ...”

She paused as she searched for the right words.

“The kids are calling. The kids are saying, ‘Mom, what can we do? We know what you are like. We know what this unit is like.’ They are so angry about what is being said.”

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