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September 10, 2013

Sports Illustrated details Oklahoma State football improprieties

STILLWATER, Okla. — When defensive safety Fath` Carter reported for work at an Oklahoma State University football booster’s ranch during his playing days, he says he quickly learned about getting paid for doing nothing in violation of NCAA rules.

Carter, who played for OSU from 2000 to 2003, told Sports Illustrated he and fellow players received cash to help shoe horses and “most of us hadn’t even seen a horse before” and didn’t do the work.

The poignant anecdote was one of several cited by the magazine Tuesday in the first of a five-part series detailing alarming improprieties at the OSU program from 2000 to 2011 – a series SI said tells how the Big 12 school rose from the bottom of major college football to the elite during that decade.

Based on interviews with 64 former OSU players and another 40 current and former football staffers, the magazine’s 10-month investigation outlined these NCAA rules violations:

  • Allowing cash payments to players from boosters and coaches, with some stars earning as much as $10,000 per year from bonuses for big plays and sham jobs.
  • Keeping players academically eligible by having tutors do their course work, and professors giving passing grades for little or no work.
  • Ignoring drug use and abuse by top players, including the smoking of marijuana before games and the dealing of drugs.
  • Inducing prospective players with the help of a hostess program known as “Orange Pride” that included “a small subset” of the group having sex with the recruits. SI said former OSU head coach Les Miles and current head coach Mike Gundy “took the unusual step of personally interviewing candidates” for the hostess program.

Sports Illustrated said that most of the violations fall outside of the NCAA’s four-year statute of limitations, but Oklahoma State officials said they will rigorously investigate the magazine’s claims of improper conduct. The NCAA has said it will also investigate the accusations of rules violations.

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