Update: Oklahoma State responds to former football players' academic dishonesty claims
Update: Oklahoma State University launched a new site in response to the claims made to Sports Illustrated. President Burns Hargis says the university will "investigate the accuracy of the allegations and take all appropriate action," reiterating the school's commitment to the highest ethical standards. As with other scandals, however, the reputational damage may already be done.
- Thirteen former Oklahoma State University football players from between 2000 and 2011 revealed to Sports Illustrated that they had been involved in academic misconduct, naming an additional 16 who had schoolwork done for them.
- According to players, tutors and university staff often completed their coursework, answers to exams were supplied to them in advance and their academic counselor scheduled them in courses with lax professors and put them in majors without first consulting them.
- A philosophy of keeping the best players eligible to play by any means necessary reportedly took root after Les Miles became coach in December 2000; Miles would say "Academics first" while symbolically holding up two fingers, followed by "Football second," holding up one.
Academic honesty scandals involving collegiate sports scandals are arguably nothing new—UNC was rocked by one in 2012 that led to the resignation of a chancellor, the firing of a football coach and a $500,000 PR bill. But Sports Illustrated's investigation of Oklahoma State's football team reveals just how far some coaches and university staff will go to provide an elite team. Former safety Victor Johnson alleges that wide receiver Dez Bryant's All-Big 12 academic recognition in 2008 was something of a joke among teammates and two former assistant coaches, as Johnson claims Bryant was often shepherded to class and had his coursework completed by tutors. Worst yet, it isn't the OSU Cowboys' first trip to the academic scandal rodeo—in 1989, Dexter Manley revealed that, despite playing at the school for four seasons, he couldn't read above a second-grade level.
From the article:
... According to Johnson and one of the former assistant coaches, it was well known that Bryant would not go to class unless shepherded, often by a football staff member, and that tutors did a majority of his coursework. "He just wasn't supposed to be there. There's no way he could do the college work," said the former assistant coach. "Once he got there, he was connected with the people that would help him." Calvin Mickens, a cornerback from 2005 to '07, says he also saw tutors do coursework for Bryant.
Bryant, now with the Dallas Cowboys, denies that he had work done for him and declined further comment. ...
- Sports Illustrated Read More
Follow Roger Riddell on Twitter