In the first part of a Sports Illustrated five-part investigative series on the Oklahoma State football program, at least eight former Cowboy players say they received cash from people associated with the program dating back to the Les Miles era.
Multiple players told SI that some players received $2,000 annually and others around $10,000, with some star players receiving $25,000 or more. The former players cited in the report identified another 29 players as having also taken money, including former running back Tatum Bell and quarterback Josh Fields. While Bell, Fields and others denied getting payments, multiple players said they received cash and saw other players getting paid.
In the stories that have yet to be released in the series, Oklahoma State's football program allegedly had academic misconduct, tolerated recreational drug use and had members of a hostess program engaging in sex with recruits.
In the first piece released on Tuesday, SI reported that payments to players stretched from 2001 to at least 2011. That dates back to Miles, who is currently the head coach at LSU, and Mike Gundy. Miles, according to the report, was instrumental in creating a “hospitable” environment for boosters. Meanwhile, former special teams and secondary coach Joe DeForest was said to be a key figure in a bonus payment system. DeForest is now the associate head coach and special teams coordinator at West Virginia. Current Texas assistant Larry Porter is also alleged to have paid players in the piece. Both DeForest and Porter issued statements to SI denying the allegations.
While SI reported that a lot of the violations happened outside of the four-year statute of limitations for prosecution, the NCAA could penalize Oklahoma State if it finds that “willful violations” occurred before the four-year statute and a pattern of “blatant disregard” continued to occur.
Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.