STILLWATER — Oklahoma State fans have different opinions about Hart Lee Dykes' legacy with the football program.
Questions about Dykes' legacy arose after he told the Tulsa World his days as an All-American receiver for the Cowboys have been overlooked by OSU due to his involvement in NCAA investigation, which eventually led to a three-year postseason ban for the program.
Nobody questions Dykes' on-the-field performance.
But many Cowboy fans still object to his off-the-field mistakes.
“I don't think most fans will forget that,” said Ryan Aaron of Oklahoma City.
And some would like to see the former receiver apologize for his role in getting OSU sanctioned by the NCAA. He reportedly received immunity that allowed him to keep playing while participating in the investigation that put the Pokes on probation.
“It would go along way for OSU fans to hear Hart Lee apologize and ask forgiveness,” said Brian Flournoy of Tulsa. “Be sincere and apologize, and with time the OSU family will accept him. No doubt. Everyone makes mistakes, especially an 18-year-old kid.”
“He deserves to be recognized for his athletic achievements, as he may very well be the best receiver OSU has ever seen. However, until he decides to man up to his past transgressions and apologize to OSU publicly, his legacy will forever be tarnished.”
An email poll of Cowboy fans proved how polarizing the debate can be.
Many fans wondered what type of recognition Dykes was looking for, and several expressed concern about officially recognizing a player who is partly remembered for taking money during the recruiting process.
“I'm not sure what he thinks he deserves now,” said Mac McCrory of Oklahoma City. “If he wants fame, he should write a tell-all book. Otherwise, quit whining.”
Said Rod Kelly of Spring, Texas: “I don't think it's in OSU's best interest to promote or recognize someone who blatantly broke the rules, caused the program to go on probation, and his only excuse today is that he was young when he did it and anybody in his shoes would have done the same... Actions have consequences, and he made many bad decisions that he now has to live with.”
Others are ready to forget Dykes' transgressions and give him any recognition that's deserved.
“I never put the blame on Hart Lee,” said Mike Shaw of Edmond. “I put the blame on the coaching staff and boosters for what happened to OSU.”
Regardless, the majority of the OSU fans polled did express deep appreciation of Dykes' excellence during his time in a Cowboy uniform.
“Based on his play, he deserves to be recognized,” Aaron said. “He was the standard at WR for us for years.”
Said Kelly: “Hart Lee's statistics speak for themselves as one of the, if not the, best WR in Big 8 history.”
OSU athletic director Mike Holder agrees.
“He was one of the greatest players we've ever had. He's right there with Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas,” Holder said. “He set the standard for wide receiver play at Oklahoma State.”
Asked if Dykes could be honored in the future, Holder said:
“I don't see why we wouldn't.”
Maybe the best idea is a suggestion from Jeff Jones of Broken Arrow:
“If I am (OSU coach) Mike Gundy, I give him an open invitation to be as involved as he wants to be.”