Since the first part of Sports Illustrated expose on the Oklahoma State football program was released Tuesday morning, players, boosters and even media members have been quick to debunk any notion Cowboys’ players were paid.
But Oklahoma State’s most prominent booster, T. Boone Pickens, who was not implicated in the story, didn’t try to refute the story in his issued statement, he merely said that the story was old.
There’s one word I have for the Sports Illustrated reporting on Oklahoma State University: Disappointing.This series is not reflective of Oklahoma State University today. Many of their sensational allegations go back a decade ago.
There have been wholesale changes at the school in recent years in leadership and facilities. During that time, I have given more than $500 million to OSU, for athletics and academics. Have I gotten my money’s worth? You bet. We have a football program that has a commitment to principled sportsmanship. They understand the expectations we, as fans and supporters, have for the program.
We have an incredible and growing fan base, and a loyal group of alums that believe in the character of our players, coaches and administrators.
But I do welcome this scrutiny. If people take the time, it’s an opportunity to better understand where Oklahoma State is today, not a decade ago. It’s a different university today. It’s a better university. If there are areas where we need to improve, we’ll do it.
Which leads me back to my disappointment with Sports Illustrated, and their failure to ask the most important question of all: What’s happening at OSU today?
To Pickens’ point, the majority of the claims of players being improperly paid occurred between 2001-07, though the article said players received money as late as 2011.
However, rule breaking is rule breaking no matter when it occurs, just ask USC, Penn State and a host of other schools that have been slapped with NCAA sanctions for stuff that happened before most of the players were even in high school.
And this is just the first part of Sports Illustrated’s story. There are still four other parts dealing with improprieties at the school. Pickens might want to reserve judgment until he reads the entire collection.