InsideSI – The rapid ascent of the Oklahoma State University football program into a national powerhouse is examined in a five-part series to run across SI’s platforms
“The Dirty Game,” a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED special investigative report that looks into the transformation of a struggling college football program into a national powerhouse, is set to launch tomorrow morning on SI.com. The series is the result of a comprehensive 10-month investigation into the Oklahoma State University football program. It includes independent and on-the-record interviews with more than 60 former OSU football players who played from 1999 to 2011, as well as current and former OSU football staffers.
The findings will be presented in a five-part series across SI’s family of platforms, beginning with Part 1 (money), which launches on SI.com tomorrow at 9 a.m. ET and is this week’s magazine cover story, on newsstands and tablets Wednesday. Additional live coverage can be found on SI Now, SI.com’s live daily talk show (weekdays at 1 p.m. ET) and across SI’s social media outlets.
After 11 losing seasons in 12 years, OSU turned itself into one of the top programs in the nation.
Part 1: Money (On SI.com Tuesday, 9/10 and in the 9/16/13 SI issue): SI finds that OSU used a bonus system orchestrated by an assistant coach whereby players were paid for their performance on the field, with some stars collecting $500 or more per game. In addition, the report finds that OSU boosters and at least two assistant coaches funneled money to players via direct payments and a system of no-show and sham jobs. Some players say they collected more than $10,000 annually in under-the-table payouts.
Part 2: Academics (On SI.com Wednesday, 9/11): Widespread academic misconduct, which included tutors and other OSU personnel completing coursework for players, and professors giving passing grades for little or no work, all in the interest of keeping top players eligible.
Part 3: Drugs (On SI.com Thursday, 9/12): OSU tolerated and at times enabled recreational drug use, primarily through a specious counseling program that allowed some players to continue to use drugs while avoiding penalties. The school’s drug policy was selectively enforced, with some stars going unpunished despite repeated positive tests.
Part 4: Sex (On SI.com Friday, 9/13): OSU’s hostess program, Orange Pride, figured so prominently in the recruitment of prospects that the group more than tripled in size under Miles. Both Miles and Gundy took the unusual step of personally interviewing candidates. Multiple former players and Orange Pride members say that a small subset of the group had sex with recruits, a violation of NCAA rules.
Part 5: The Fallout (On SI.com Tuesday, 9/17, and in the 9/23/13 SI issue): SI finds that many players who were no longer useful to the football program were cast aside, returning to worlds they had hoped to escape. Some have been incarcerated, others live on the streets, many have battled drug abuse and a few have attempted suicide.
Look I don’t know much about much, but I know this: If a major sports publication is heavily promoting the release of a “10 month investigation including independent and on the record interviews with 60 former players and staffers spanning 12 years” on your “rapid turnaround into a powerhouse program,” and will be presented in a 5 part series on every platform, and titled it “The Dirty Game”…you’re generally in no uncertain terms what we like to call “fucked.” I mean Part 1 being called “The Money” pretty much spells it out for you. Looks like kind of a big deal. Just not what you want to be dealing with 3 weeks into a big season. Poor OSU. Poor Mike Gundy. He’s a man, he’s 40, and he seems to be about to face a fucking firestorm.