Oklahoma State beat writer John Helsley and Sports Editor Mike Sherman chatted with readers Tuesday about a Sports Illustrated report that claims several OSU football players, from 2001 to 2011, received payment for performance and no-show jobs. Read the complete chat transcript here.
Pickens was so embarrassed following OSU's 1989 penalties that he disassociated himself from the football program for about a decade. You think Pickens does the same now?
John: I can't begin to speak for Mr. Pickens. I know he's serious about not wanting cheating going on at his university. Unless Gundy is attached to some real NCAA violations, I would guess the time frame involved and the distance from the main issues revealed -- so far -- will be the key.
Why is the story just now coming out? Has OSU known this was coming?
John: SI is claiming it received information some 10 months ago and started to go after it then. I believe that OSU has known about it for a while, not that long, but when they started getting word from former players and coaches that they were being interviewed.
The 3 main players quoted all got kicked off the team in 2005 - does that hurt the credibility of the story?
John: With OSU fans, it will hurt credibility. On a national scale, people will read and believe, which is the PR problem that OSU faces. Nationally, folks won't know those guys' stories. And in the coming days, some of those guys will likely even be made to out to be sympathetic figures.
Why are OSU fans fixated on Thayer Evans?
John: Because he's written several previous stories about OSU, most of them unflattering and some of them involving bad information.
What comments have officials from the school made that you know of?
John: I thought Holder's statement yesterday was the right tact, take the news and investigate and see what's there, instead of going in defense mode. Otherwise, they've been waiting for the story to run, so they could digest it all, see who was involved and react accordingly. I expect a press conference at some point soon.
What do you think are the short and long term implications from this SI article?
Mike: 1) Shame. I think people like Burns Hargis, Mike Holder, Mike Gundy and others have good reason to feel shame. 2) Joe DeForest will be soon out of a job. I can't imagine West Virginia sticking with him in light of these allegations. He had already been demoted. I'm not sure WVU will see keeping him as worth the trouble.
Shouldn't OSU's biggest worries be Boone Pickens stops giving money to athletics?
Mike: Here's what I tweeted about an hour or so ago: Boone Pickens past quote: "'I’ve given the school a lot of money, but if there is any cheating, I’m through.” #OKState” Let's wait and see how much this wrongdoing is tied to the current coaching staff. There's references to some of the allegations dating to as recent as 2011, but there was nothing like that in Round 1. I don't see Pickens bailing on OSU based on what I've read so far.
What does it take for a source to be considered credible? What criteria does the Oklahoman follow?
Mike: First-hand knowledge. A history of being in the know and credible. One of the big things is to give the context of how they know. One of the most important questions for any source is "how do you know this?" If someone told them that's not the kind of source you quote or cite. It can be the kind of source who leads you to other sources. I also think it's important to give the context on the source. It's strange to me that it was never mentioned that Brad Girtman was kicked off the team. That seems relevant.
Couldn't a similar investigative story be written about any D1 football program? Why do you think they chose OSU?
Mike: That's one of the most compelling questions about this report. I want to know more about that. Here are the reasons SI reporters/editors have publicly given: 1) They wanted to look into a college football program that rose rapidly. 2) Thayer Evans had heard allegations about Oklahoma State.