The Sports Illustrated series on OSU continues to draw out former players speaking on behalf of their school.
Vernand Morency, a running back for the Cowboys from 2002-04, took to his Facebook page to post an “open letter regarding Sports Illustrated's allegations against Oklahoma State.”
“I would like to address the recent Sports Illustrated article that attempts to tarnish the reputation of Oklahoma State University's athletic program. I am proud to represent such a high caliber program and was deeply saddened to read the allegations that my former teammates have made against OSU.
“First and foremost, I am appalled that Sports Illustrated has accused both Darrent Williams and Vernon Grant of receiving money from coaches or boosters. These amazing men, may they rest in peace, are unable to defend themselves or the University for which they gave their blood, sweat and tears.
“I was recruited by Coach (Joe) DeForest. I consider him a mentor and I am honored to call him my friend. Never, under any circumstances, did I receive or witness Coach DeForest or any other coach or donor offer monetary gifts for on-field performances. I no longer respect the men who are making these allegations. I previously considered these men teammates and friends. It is my opinion that the people that have asserted these allegations are not credible. I would not be surprised if these individuals received payment from Sports Illustrated for providing what I consider to be false and defamatory information to the magazine. It seems they have a clear vendetta against OSU, did not graduate from the university, have a history of drug use, have been arrested and/or were dismissed from the team due to conduct inconsistent with the OSU brand.
“During my time at OSU, I worked extremely hard and my efforts and dedication paid off. I find it interesting that I was never handed a “thick envelope” nor was I overpaid for doing menial tasks. However, those that spent much less time on the field than I allege receiving these incentives.
“I do not recall ever seeing boosters in the locker room after games and I was certainly never handed cash for any of my performances.
“While in college, I was falsely accused of something that I did not do. I am all too familiar with how the University officials and those associated with the football program are feeling at this particular time. I bleed orange and it hurts me all over again to have to listen to these allegations.
“I do not put my name on anything that I do not believe in 100% and I believe these hurtful and defamatory allegations are an attempt to harm not only the athletic department, but the University as a whole. Oklahoma State is an outstanding university with an impressive Athletic Department and unparalleled leadership. I have no doubt that Mike Holder and Oklahoma State University will handle this situation with the dignity and class that is consistent with the Oklahoma State University brand.”
LES MILES GOES ON THE OFFENSIVE
It was only a matter of time before Les Miles was pulled into the SI allegations on his former OSU program.
Wednesday, during his spot in the SEC coaches teleconference, Miles opened with a remembrance and nod to the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, then spun right into a statement denying the charges in the magazine's investigative series so far.
“I revered my time in Stillwater,” Miles said. “The idea that someone would characterize the program that was run there as anything but right and correct ... did we work hard? You betcha. Did we make tough decisions about starting lineups? You betcha. But every guy was encouraged to get his degree, stay the course and fight.
“I can tell you that people that were commenting on the state of the program weren't there long enough to figure it out. They heard me tell them attend class, do the right things and heard me routinely. I'm going to withhold further comment. I can tell you that staff, family and friends, anybody that sat in our meeting rooms, knew that this thing was done right. I want to withhold further comment to get my team ready to play against a quality Kent State (team). That's my push.”
FIELDS SUPPORTS TALLEY'S MINISTRY
Former Cowboys quarterback Josh Fields has been one of the most vocal defenders of the OSU football program as Sports Illustrated has slowly rolled out its five-part investigative series alleging multiple improprieties over a 10-year span.
Tuesday night, Fields posted this tweet in support of regional FCA director John Talley, who in Part 1 of the series, entitled “The Money,” is accused of overpaying players for sham jobs:
“For every RT this gets tonight, I'm donating a dime to my good friend John Talley's OSU FCA Ministry. (Proverbs 20:19) #IRideWithTheCowboys
Josh Fields (@OkieFields) September 10, 2013”
Wednesday morning, he upped that amount to a quarter per retweet. By 11 a.m. Wednesday, the post had 2,463 retweets, which comes out to $615.75.
VERNON GRANT'S BROTHER UPSET
Two subjects fingered for wrongdoing in SI's series thus far are former Cowboy defenders Vernon Grant and Darrent Williams.
Both are deceased. Grant died in a 2005 car crash. Williams was murdered during a drive-by shooting on January 1, 2007, in Denver.
Grant's brother, Anthony Grant, spoke out on Twitter about SI implicating Vernon.
“Since my brother Vernon Grant is not here to defend himself, I will. My family and I are very upset and feel it's a disgrace.”
ARTRELL WOODS GOES ON RANT
Atrell Woods, a major source in SI's investigation so far and also featured in a video online, used Twitter to go off on a rant Wednesday.
In an expletive-laced post, Woods said he didn't “give a (bleep) about who got paid what or from who. Don't know (bleep) about who got paid what and from who. But what I do know is, I broke my (bleep) spine … and was paralyzed (and) they wouldn't even make sure I got a degree.”
BY JOHN HELSLEY AND GINA MIZELL