Former Oklahoma State players said some recruits had sexual relations with school hostesses on their recruiting visits, according to a Sports Illustrated series regarding the Cowboys football program.
Friday's fourth segment of Sports Illustrated's five-part series on the Oklahoma State football program focuses on the role of Orange Pride. Orange Pride was made up of female undergraduates who were responsible for greeting recruits and guiding recruits and their families around campus.
According to the report, more than a dozen former OSU players from 2001-2011 told SI that "a small number of Orange Pride members had sexual relations with them or other prospects during recruiting visits."
SI reported that membership in Orange Pride "more than tripled," while other schools were cracking down on the practice.
No football coaches or athletic department staff members were directly implicated in the report. But the report implies the Orange Pride expansion coincided with Les Miles' hiring as head coach.
In his response to SI on the issue, Miles, now the head coach at LSU, said, "The volunteers' role in our program was important and I wanted to stress how seriously we took their duties and responsibilities and the manner in which we expected those students to conduct themselves if they were selected for Orange Pride."
One former Orange Pride member told SI, "a vast majority did not have sex with recruits," and none said that members of the Oklahoma State coaching staff or athletic department told them to have sex with players.
Shayla Simpson, a recruiting assistant who coordinated Orange Pride from February 2003 until March 2004, said Miles was involved in the selection process.
"Then [Miles] would do an interview," Simpson said, according to SI. "So [the hostess] really got to meet him, know what his game plan kind of was, talk about what his expectations were. ... It was very important to [Miles]. He knew, yes, we all knew that the beauty helped. I'm not going to lie about that part. It's a picture. It's no different than having a pretty campus. It's no different than having a really big football field. It's part of the whole package, [but] you couldn't be pretty and an idiot and call it good. You had to really understand the game because you couldn't sound like an idiot when you talked to recruits."
LeRon Furr, a linebacker at Oklahoma State during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, told SI that a small number of hostesses had sex with recruits while he was there.
"Those girls knew that they had to show the players a good time and get them [to Oklahoma State]," Furr told SI. "Sex, going out, alcohol, smoking [marijuana]."
University rules prohibit Orange Pride members from having sex with players or recruits, according to the SI report. Miles told SI, "I am not aware of this ever happening and am quite sure that no staff member was aware of recruits sleeping with the group of students or any other students."
A hostess from the 2003-04 school year told SI that some within Orange Pride did "cross the line."
"That's why I was only in the program for one year," said the hostess, who was not named by SI. "It was very disturbing. When I found out, that's why I quit."
However, Julie Longan, who was a member of the Orange Pride in 2005-07, told News 9 in Oklahoma City she thought much of the SI investigation is "unfounded."
She said members of the group were warned by current head coach Mike Gundy about behaving properly.
"From the very get-go, he wanted us to know that he expected professional behavior at all times, even when we weren't actually in uniform or in the football office," Longan said, according to News 9.