By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Midway through the Oklahoma State football season a series of articles by Sports Illustrated created quite a stir. The magazine published a series called the “Dirty Game” which laid out allegations of bribery, academic cheating, drug use and players having sex with the Orange Pride hostesses.
SI interviewed more than 60 former football players from 2001 to 2010, as well as current and former OSU football staffers. The series began with allegations that OSU boosters and assistant coaches gave money to players via direct payment and a system of no-show and sham jobs.
The series continued by talking about academic misconduct, including tutors and OSU personnel completing coursework for players and professors giving passing grades for little or no work.
The third part of the series talked about alleged incidents of Orange Pride hostesses having sex with recruits which is against NCAA rules.
The final part of the series talked about the fallout and how several players were kicked off the team, some have served jail sentences, lived on the streets. A few players battled drub abuse and attempted suicide.
Oklahoma State took swift action and held a press conference before the series began. Both athletic director Mike Holder and football coach Mike Gundy said they will fix any problems found in the football program but added they have been focused on doing the right thing.
“As the athletic director at Oklahoma State and an alumnus of the university I don’t want to believe it’s true. We pride ourselves on doing things the right way around here,” he said.
“I am very proud of what we have accomplished here both on and off the field. Our goal has always been to take young people from where their families and parents have gotten them and to make them better over a four- or five-year period. We are very proud of that in many ways,” Gundy said.
Oklahoma State also created a web page in response to SI stories. When the articles were published they were highly disputed. Billy Bajema, who played at OSU from 2001-2004 denied the reports of drug use.
“Basically, I read through that Sports Illustrated article and there wasn’t a single thing in there that I saw at my time at Oklahoma State,” Bajema said.
Fans also had negative reactions to the stories.
“I think they (the allegations) are ridiculous and not true,” said Rick Garett. “It will all get sorted out.”
It was later discovered that there were errors in SI’s articles. According to an ESPN report, former Oklahoma State safety Fath’ Carter attended OSU from 2000-05 but never graduated. The SI article said Carter had two degrees from Oklahoma State.
A West Virginia investigation found no wrongdoing by assistant coach Joe DeForest, who was on staff at OSU from 2001-2011. The SI articles accused DeForest of paying large sum to players for making big plays.