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Sports Illustrated report alleges payments to OSU football players

Filed by KOSU News in Feature.
September 10, 2013

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Image courtesy Oklahoma State University.


This story will be updated.

The first part of a Sports Illustrated investigation into Oklahoma State’s football program alleges boosters and coaches paid players for plays on the field, remaining a part of the program, and no show or sham jobs. The payments reached as high as $25,000 for some star players, according to the report. The payments came as recently as 2011. The NCAA statute of limitations for prosecution is 4 years.

Sports Illustrated said it talked to eight former Cowboys players on the record who offered detailed accounts of the payments. They talked of getting payments in envelopes, socks, or a bonus in their per-diem allotment.

Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis released a statement in advance of the report, promising the school would hire an outside investigator to look into the allegations in the report. President Hargis will be on KOSU Wednesday morning at 7:35 to address the report.

At this time, it cannot be determined the exact documentation and further evidence Sports Illustrated has to back up statements from players.

Former players who weren’t quoted in the report have voiced their disbelief. Russell Okung, left tackle for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, called the articles slanderous in a tweet. Tatum Bell, a second round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2004, said the articles were false and said “no one took no extras” when he was at Oklahoma State.


On Tuesday afternoon, I spoke with Stuart Brown, Esq., one of the attorneys at Ice Miller’s Collegiate Sports Compliance Division in Indianapolis. He says the case could a “major infractions” case, now known as a level one case.

“They have the flexibility to devote more resources to their higher profile cases. One would have to assume this would be a higher profile case, at least initially, in the NCAA pecking order.”

The NCAA has a 4 year statute of limitations on violations. But Attorney Brown also says there are ways around that:

“If the NCAA can make a good faith argument that wrongdoing was going on in 2009, 2010, 2011, but that was a chain of events that started in 2001, 2002, 2003, then that whole 12 year period could theoretically be investigated and violations could be subject to NCAA sanctions.”

Hear our entire interview at 3:30 or 5:30 PM on KOSU, or by clicking above.


The Sports Illustrated report quotes a number of former Oklahoma State University players, who offer accounts of how they were paid. Many of the players had disciplinary issues. Seymore Shaw was suspended from the team after getting charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors.

William Bell was dismissed from the team by Coach Mike Gundy.

Calvin Mickens, who Sports Illustrated opened up their story with, pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphanelia in 2008.

Aso Pogi is involved in a dispute over more than $10,000 in Comanche County. And Thomas Wright was kicked off the team by Coach Gundy.

2 Responses to “Sports Illustrated report alleges payments to OSU football players”

  1. Loyal & True says:

    This article and post is troubling to me due to your wording. The article reveals nothing. It makes allegation and you are restating irresponsible journalism, if you can even call it journalism, as fact.

  2. Dez's Escalade says:

    OSU is the only university in the country with a president, AD, and football coach who are all alumni, and were all hand-picked by $500 million booster Boone Pickens.

    Everyone here in Stillwater (and apparently the complicit/cowardly Oklahoma media) has ostrich syndrome. The last thing OSU wants is to sue over this and have everything really come to light during discovery. Civil process is a B, ladies and gents, and if that were to happen, think of the thousands of emails and documents that would get revealed.

    Sports Illustrated, CNN, and Time Warner vetted this thing with a team of lawyers and fact checkers. All of the interviewees, including the idiots who are recanting, are on TAPE.

    The writer, George Dohrmann, has a Pulitzer from the academic misconduct he unearthed at Minnesota. His work got Jim Tressel to resign from Ohio State. I hear all these idiots screaming about Thayer Evans, who DID NOT go to OU, and even if he did, that has little bearing on the interviews he conducted in Texas with all the former players and former coaches.

    The interviewees were not paid; another erroneous Cowboy excuse I've heard. Good luck, Pokes. You're going to need it. (Also, Dexter Manley and Hart Lee Dykes say "Hi!")

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