MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OSU

September 8, 2013

Mag targets OSU misconduct

STILLWATER  — Oklahoma State University said Saturday that Sports Illustrated has informed the school it plans to publish a series of articles about alleged misconduct in the university’s football program starting in 2001.

The university said in a statement that Sports Illustrated outlined allegations involving inappropriate activities and actions, the majority of which occurred from 2001-07. The school said the allegations outlined don’t involve any current coaches or players. LSU coach Les Miles coached Oklahoma State from 2001-04. Mike Gundy took over in 2005 and is still the Cowboys coach.

The university said it has contacted the NCAA to advise it of “the accusations described,” although the school did not go into detail about the allegations in its statement on Saturday. The university said Sports Illustrated didn’t provide all of the specifics of the accusations.

“Oklahoma State University is deeply troubled by these claims. We will investigate the accuracy of the allegations and take all appropriate action,” University President Burns Hargis said in the statement. “We do not condone or tolerate improper conduct in our athletic programs. OSU requires everyone affiliated with the university to follow the rules and adhere to the highest ethical standards.”

University Vice President of Athletics Mike Holder said they’re shocked by the allegations about the football program.

“We take the allegations seriously,” Holder said in the statement. “Whether they have merit or not, we don’t know. But we will find out.”

Oklahoma State said Sports Illustrated notified the school of the planned series on Aug. 28.

The Oklahoman reported Saturday, citing an unidentified source, that the allegations include payments to players from boosters and academic improprieties. The Oklahoman also reported former assistant coach Joe DeForest is accused in the story of running a bonus program, paying players for big plays as recently as 2011.

DeForest now works as an assistant coach at West Virginia for head coach Dana Holgorsen, who is a former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.

West Virginia released a statement that did not mention DeForest.

“West Virginia University is aware of an upcoming investigative reporting series in Sports Illustrated which-while focused on another institution-includes allegations against one of our current assistant football coaches regarding his time of employment at his previous Institution,” athletic director Oliver Luck said. “Upon learning of the pending investigative report, WVU launched an internal review to ensure the coach’s full compliance to NCAA rules while at West Virginia. The NCAA has also been contacted. While our assistant football coach has denied the allegations, it is the right thing to do to look into the matter and review practices here.”

The university said Sports Illustrated senior writer George Dohrmann and executive editor B.J. Schecter came to Stillwater this past week to provide details about the series.

On the field, Oklahoma State beat UTSA 56-35 at San Antonio.

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