OSU football/Sports Illustrated: Former receiver Artrell Woods blames OSU for current struggles

SI's latest story, “The Fallout,” was released without notice Monday, a day earlier than had been promoted. It portrays an image of an OSU that coldly discards players once their usefulness is exhausted.
by John Helsley Published: September 16, 2013

Artrell Woods says that he keeps hitting bottom.

“Every time I think I've hit bottom there is a new bottom,” Woods said in the final piece of Sports Illustrated's five-part exposé on the Oklahoma State football program.

And Woods — as well as others who left the program and have fallen on hard times — blame OSU.

To Woods, the weightlifting injury that broke his back in June 2007 was the impetus for his fall, which now leaves him waiting tables at a chain restaurant back home in Bryan, Texas, and searching for his next meal, while he admits to being a self-admitted user of alcohol and drugs.

SI's latest story, “The Fallout,” was released without notice Monday, a day earlier than had been promoted. It portrays an image of an OSU that coldly discards players once their usefulness is exhausted.

Woods is the central figure, although several other former players speak in the story of similar personal struggles since being released by the Cowboys.

Running back Kevin White (2005-06), offensive lineman Jonathan Cruz (2003-2005), running back Herschel Sims (2011-12), defensive end William Bell (2004-05) and linebacker Marcus Richardson (2007) all link their life regrets to what they consider cold and unfair treatment by OSU's coaches.

It seems that Sims, who was kicked off the team after he stole $700 from teammate Jeremiah Tshimanga and was charged with two counts of felony theft, has shifted blame from himself to OSU.

Joining Abilene Christian back in his hometown, after first transferring to Lamar and leaving there, Sims said:

“It hurts. I never dreamed I'd come back to Abilene to play football. I feel like I'm a top-notch Division I player, and I should be up there with the rest of the guys. But it's nobody's fault but my own. I had my chance, but I messed it up.”

Another former Cowboy, linebacker Jeremy Nethon, recognized his mess-up immediately. Dismissed from the team in 2005 for academic reasons, Nethon asked — and received — permission from coach Mike Gundy to return to the squad as a walk-on, requiring him to get a job at Payless Shoes in Stillwater. He eventually regained his scholarship and became an integral part of the OSU defense.

“You know what, if you make a mistake, it's on you,” Nethon said. “Oklahoma State and the coaches are not out to just kick you off for no reason. If you were dismissed, it was for a valid reason.

“When I was dismissed for my grades, Joe DeForest tried everything in his power to help me out and find another school. To say that they just use you and are done with is the furthest thing from the truth.

“It was a shock at first, ‘Whoa, this is real life.' Then it was, ‘Where do I go from here?' I sat down and realized I'd invested a lot of time at OSU, the coaches had invested a lot into me … so, hey, ‘It's my responsibility to make up what I messed up.'”

Woods' story is different, in that he wasn't released from the team.

An OSU source said recently that he did, however, sour with his role on the team, became increasingly volatile and told coaches that he wanted to quit.

Much like in his recent tirades on Twitter, Woods comes across as angry and bitter toward OSU, littering expletives throughout his complaints.


by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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