STILLWATER — Oklahoma State University will hire an independent investigator to review claims of payments to players, academic improprieties and recruiting violations, University President Burns Hargis said in an interview Wednesday with KOSU, the university’s public radio station.
The investigator will review claims made in a Sports Illustrated exposé on the university’s football team. The five-part series started Tuesday on the magazine’s website, SI.com.
Tuesday’s story focused on illegal payments to players. Wednesday’s looked at academic improprieties. Wednesday’s web story on SI.com looked into football players’ academic progress and cheating. Recreational drug use will be featured in Thursday’s SI.com report. Friday, the SI.com story looks at sex between football recruits and members of OSU’s “Orange Pride” hostesses. Tuesday’s payment story is in Wednesday’s issue of Sports Illustrated. A story wrapping up the expose will be on SI.com Tuesday. It also will appear in the Sept. 23 issue of the magazine.
OSU’s Office of Athletic Compliance is located in Gallagher-Iba Arena, but reports directly to Hargis. Kevin Fite is the Associate Athletics Director of Compliance. Six people work with Fite to ensure OSU operates within NCAA regulations.
The compliance office will examine the SI allegations, but OSU will hire an independent investigator, Hargis said.
“The NCAA will come in. Whether they focus on the entire period or not, it’s up to them, but we are going to look at everything,” Hargis said in the KOSU interview. “We are going to investigate it thoroughly.
“We do everything we can to make sure that happens,” he told KOSU. “If for some reason it doesn’t, then we have to take swift and sure action.”
LSU coach Les Miles served as OSU’s coach from 2001 to 2004.
During Wednesday’s SEC media teleconference, Miles said OSU ran a clean program when he was coach.
“I revered my time at Stillwater,” Miles said. “The idea that somebody would characterize the program that was run there as anything but right is incorrect.”
The people commenting about the program didn’t stay with the program long enough to understand, Miles said.
“They heard me tell them attend class and do the right things and heard me routinely,” Miles said. “Staff, families, friends and anybody who sat in our meeting rooms knew that this thing was done right.”
Wednesday’s SI story quoted former OSU offensive lineman Doug Bond as saying Miles would hold up two fingers as he said “academics first” and one finger as he said “football second.”
“You heard his words but you saw what he was doing. So the thought process was that you’re going to school just so you can play football,” Bond, a lineman from 2002 to 2004, told SI.
SI reported 13 Pokes who played between 2001 and 2011 told magazine reporters they participated in some form of academic misconduct. Sixteen others were named by teammates as having had schoolwork done for them.
Chris Day is associate editor of the Stillwater NewsPress