Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thoughts on Part one of SI.com's Oklahoma St. expose.

After reading the first part of "The Dirty Game," Sports Illustrated's series on alleged corruption at Oklahoma State, I have a few thoughts about it.

1. You could probably create a Mad-Libs form, leaving spaces for names, schools, alleged NCAA violations, money amounts, etc., and it would look a lot like this article. There's nothing shocking new here that hasn't happened at other schools across the country.

2. There's nothing Reggie Bush level-dirty among the allegations. None of the former players named on the record got anything close to what Bush allegedly received. There's a claim that "a few stars allegedly received $25,000 or more," but those former "stars" were never identified.

3. Neither current Oklahoma St. head football coach Mike Gundy nor former HC Les Miles (now at LSU) have been linked directly to handing out cash.

Miles does come off worse for allegedly allowing boosters considerable access to players (which he denies, but isn't quoted in the article).

4. There's are more allegations made concerning former players and boosters who have died than necessary to ease my comfort level with the story. Not that I believe any of allegations are false, but it's just makes me a little queasy when you make allegations like this about dead people without any hard evidence.

5. T. Boone Pickens, Oklahoma State's most famous booster is not mentioned to be involved in any of the allegations of impropriety.

6. If you run a program funded in large part by wealthy boosters, expect them to feel entitled to violate any rule about improper benefits they feel they can get away with.

7. This story's final paragraph may be the most enlightening when it comes to how a system like this can exist. 

"At Oklahoma State the bonus system, the booster and coach payouts, and the bogus jobs provided players with money that was seldom spent on extravagances. One or two standouts bought a new car or expensive jewelry, team members say, but the vast majority of the players used the extra cash to purchase everyday items -- food, clothing, tickets to a movie. "There were some athletes who were almost starving," says Carter. "Wherever the money came from, they were like, Yeah, I'll take that." 

There's nothing earth-shattering here. Very few smoking guns, and none in the hands of Gundy, Miles, or the more successful former Cowboys players. I'm not expecting any to show up in the remainder of the series.

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