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Doubting Pokes


T. Boone Pickens

uber-booster T. Boone Pickens, who was not implicated, said he was
“disappointed” in the magazine’s reporting, which details allegations of
players and recruits receiving improper payments, academic misconduct,
drug abuse and inappropriate sexual conduct between football recruits
and members of OSU’s hostess program, Orange Pride.

of the sensational allegations go back a decade. There have been
wholesale changes in recent years, in leadership and facilities,”
Pickens said in a statement posted on, a website built by OSU. “We have a football program that is committed to ethical sportsmanship.”

Written by SI senior writers George Dohrmann and Thayer Evans, The Dirty Game is
the culmination of a 10-month investigation into the OSU football
program that included interviews with more than 60 former OSU football
players who played from 1999 to 2011, as well as current and former OSU football staffers, according to SI.

To this point, SI is
sticking to its story. People within the bubble of OSU athletics don’t
want the story to be true, Dohrmann said in a video clip posted on last week.

always feel like if you’re attacking the messenger on a story, that’s a
positive, because it means the facts are solid,” Dohrmann said.

Schecter, executive editor, said 98 percent of the interviews
with players and former assistant coaches were on-the-record and taped.

OSU athletics officials declined comment to Oklahoma Gazette by deadline. After the allegations surfaced, however, others began to refute SI’s story. One of SI’s major sources, former OSU running back Seymore Shaw, recanted his comments in a statement given to Tulsa’s FOX23.

agreed to talk with Thayer Evans with the presumption that we would be
talking about something completely different. I became uncomfortable
with where the conversation was going and later retracted all
statements,” Shaw said. “At no point in time was I paid or looking to
‘out’ OSU, players, coaches, or anyone associated with the school. I
can’t say a lot at this time, but please know there are untruths being
written and the truth will eventually come out.”

Former OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden, now with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, thrashed Evans during an interview posted on the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s website, He said Evans “is an OU (University of Oklahoma) guy” and is just trying to hurt OSU’s image.

Weeden said he never accepted money or “anything like that,” and he never saw any wrongdoing in five years on campus.

days of silence, Evans finally responded to the backlash. In a video
clip posted Friday on, Evans said his parents attended OSU and
questions about his professional background are just “urban myths
perpetuated by the Internet.”

“I have no ax to grind with
Oklahoma State. I really don’t. I’m just doing my job here of exposing
the things that have gone on at Oklahoma State during the last 12
years,” Evans said.

Associate Athletics Director for Academic Affairs, Marilyn Middlebrook,
said she was “shocked” at SI’s assertions of academic misconduct.

building in which student-athletes gather to study, the Joe and Connie
Mitchell Academic Enhancement Center, has a full-time staff member in
every room, Middlebrook said in a video clip posted last week on

are constantly watched. They’re individually supervised. I don’t think
we could set up a better unit than what we have to watch for anything
that could go wrong,” she said.

Other media outlets also questioned SI’s story.
In a story reported by Brett McMurphy on, the statements of
former OSU players Fath’ Carter and Dexter Pratt, two more SI sources, were scrutinized.

by Carter that he graduated from OSU with two degrees and attended
classes in 2004 with running back Tatum Bell in which the professor gave
them failing grades because their eligibility had expired were not
supported by university documents, McMurphy wrote.

Pratt told SI he
only took online courses during his first semester in 2009, but
university records show Pratt took three online courses and two
on-campus classes, McMurphy wrote. Former OSU head coach Les Miles, now
at Louisiana State University, denied his part during last week’s
Southeastern Conference football teleconference, and former OSU
assistant coach Joe DeForest, accused of setting up a pay-forplay system
and paying players for work not performed, is now under investigation
at his new job at West Virginia University.

For its part, OSU will engage an independent investigator and the NCAA to look into every SI allegation, OSU President Burns Hargis said in a statement posted Friday on

the reporting here was fair and credible is not the issue. The issue is
the substance of the accusations. And it’s my responsibility as OSU
president to ensure that the review is fair, comprehensive and
complete,” Hargis said.

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