Boosters and assistant coaches at Oklahoma State handed out tens of thousands of dollars to players for at least a decade as the football program grew into a national power under coaches Les Miles and then Mike Gundy, according to a Sports Illustrated article released Tuesday.
The article, which quoted several former players by name, said some players received $2,000 to $10,000 annually, with a few stars receiving $25,000 or more. Eight players told SI they received cash, while 29 others were named by teammates as taking money. The transgressions cited stretched from 2001 until at least 2011, the magazine said.
Oklahoma State said it has notified the NCAA about the report and launched its own investigation.
Sports Illustrated said its five-part series included interviews with more than 60 former players who played for Oklahoma State from 2001-10. Among the allegations of misconduct and potential NCAA violations are:
• An Oklahoma State assistant coach, Joe DeForest, paid cash bonuses to players of up to $500 for performance.
• Boosters and assistant coaches funneled money to players and provided sham jobs for which players were paid.
• Tutors and school personnel completed school work for players and professors gave passing grades for little or no work.
• The program's drug policy was selectively enforced, allowing some players to go unpunished for repeated positive tests.
• Some members of a hostess program used by the football coaching staff had sex with recruits.
Among the players SI identified as having allegedly taken money are former quarterback Josh Fields, running back Tatum Bell and cornerback Darrent Williams. Fields, Bell and others denied receiving illicit payments, but multiple players were on the record as saying they received money and saw other players getting payments. Williams was shot to death in 2007 while he was a member of the Denver Broncos.
Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer said he was "fairly optimistic" that injured quarterback Braxton Miller, who suffered a sprained knee ligament Saturday during a 42-7 win over San Diego, would be able to play when the No. 4 play at California this week. . . . The Mountain West Conference suspended Hawaii special teams and safeties coach Chris Demarest one game for inappropriate sideline conduct Saturday during a loss to Oregon State. . . . Minnesota starting cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times