10 thoughts on the second part of Sports Illustrated’s series

Written by Kyle Porter
Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

Where do we start with Part 2?

How about two straight articles and I haven’t seen a single transcript, financial record, phone log, email, or text message? And beyond that, I haven’t heard a single person from Sports Illustrated say that they actually have any of these things.

So what are we doing now? Just letting former players talk about how they cheated in college and nobody said anything about it?

Yeah, because that only happens with athletes.

Let’s jump into some of what was said in Part 2

1. Shortly after Les Miles took over as Oklahoma State’s football coach in December 2000, he introduced an exhortation that he would use often at the end of team meetings during his four years in Stillwater. “Academics first,” Miles would say. “Football second.” As Miles said, “Academics first,” he would hold up two fingers. And as he said, “Football second,” he would hold up one.

I cannot stop laughing about this. This the first thing written in this series that I have no doubt is 100% true. Les probably trademarked it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office!

Also, this crushed me:

2. Look I’m not saying people didn’t cheat — I’d more be leery if SI actually did an investigation on a school and said “these guys never cheated” — but why are having former college students tell me they cheated and people condoned it and then not showing me any proof that it happened?

I could have told you that college students cheat!

I still haven’t physical proof or corroboration from any advisor or anybody mentioned in the piece that there was a system in place for this to happen.

Also, this:

https://twitter.com/okc_dave/status/377789077699170304

3. What about this quote from the piece?

Terry Henley, an academic adviser for football since 2000, denies the players’ allegations that he scheduled them in easy classes and steered them to majors, but concedes that academics weren’t a priority for Miles.

This is shocking[1. No it’s not.]

4. The part that doesn’t make sense is that you have 29 people named in Part 2 who allegedly cheated (many of whom didn’t graduate). Then you have this curious reasoning in Part 2:

There isn’t any logic involved there. Sports Illustrated is saying “these guys got their grades changed and still couldn’t graduate” and you’re proving all of this by pointing to OSU’s low APR which they have because these guys couldn’t graduate or flunked out! 

Do you see how circular that is?

Sports Illustrated says it this way: So despite all the ghost-written papers and complicit professors and absentee students who wound up with high grades, the solicitude only went so far.

Huh?

5. This statement is an issue, but again, only if it can be corroborated or proven by tutors or staff members.

Players said that they routinely had their coursework completed by tutors or university staff members, that they were provided with answers to exams before taking them, and that they received passing grades despite doing little or no work.

6. This is a whole other discussion and I realize isn’t totally relevant here but THIS IS WHY COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS NOT AN AMATEUR SPORT ANYMORE!

John Campbell, the school’s president at the time of the revelation, wasn’t chastened. “There would be those who would argue that Dexter Manley got exactly what he wanted out of OSU,” Campbell said. “He was able to develop his athletic skills and ability, he was noticed by the pros, he got a pro contract. So maybe we did him a favor by letting him go through the program.”

7. Let’s look at this quote:

Four players and two former assistants told SI that they had teammates who they believed were functionally illiterate even after attending the school for multiple years. Miles asked one of the Cowboys to write house on a chalkboard. “He spelled it H-A-S,” says Coxeff. “I was like, Oh, my God, how is he even in this room? … How can someone who can’t spell come to a major college?”

First of all, why was Les Miles getting people to try and spell “HOUSE” on a chalkboard?[1. Also of note, how is there not an investigation on how Les Miles graduated college?] Was it a fill in the blank? Like “Julius Crosslin is as big as a ___________”

If so, that would be pretty amazing — and honestly, would you put it past Miles to hold a team meeting where players tried to fill in word games like that? You probably wouldn’t.

Second — and this isn’t justification — the illiteracy thing isn’t unique to Oklahoma State. How about instead of Sports Illustrated unleashing Thayer on Stillwater, they do an expose on how poorly student-athletes everywhere are being educated and coddled and demand change? Work that, you know, matters instead of salaciousness that ends in court and does nothing for anybody’s future.

This, too:

8. Dez being second team academic All-Big 12 is pretty LOL-worthy.

9. The second to last thing Berry wrote here was pretty interesting. He basically said “OSU academics looks worse than OSU football.” It’s kind of true. Henley said he doesn’t deal with professors and “I don’t have control over what a professor does” which is absolutely correct.

True story: I once had a professor give me a “C” in a class that I didn’t feel like I deserved. I wrote him an email and said “I should have gotten a ‘B’ for this this and this reason.” He gave me a “B.”

Should I be guilty of academic fraud? Maybe, according to this article.

10. This quote was interesting:

There is a fine line between a tutor’s assisting a player in the composition of a paper and writing the paper for him.

There sure is and I want to know who’s drawing it because it’s not the players. If you write one word of a paper for somebody is that considered writing it? What about two? Three? 50? What’s the limit and who knows it?

11. Henley’s résumé raises another question: He was a defensive back at OSU from 1988 to ’93, when he was a teammate of Gundy’s. Among the 65 football programs in BCS conferences in 2012, only six have a former player from that school acting as the team’s primary academic counselor.

Can I get “editorial inferences” for $500, Alex?

12. This was quite funny…

13. Artrell Woods questioned his education quite openly…

I don’t know if I didn’t learn anything in college because it is college, and you don’t learn what you need to know for the real world, or because [at Oklahoma State] it was a big joke.

I know! I know!

14. All that being said, I can’t stress enough that I believe a lot of this. I’m not making excuses for anyone nor attempting to infer that all (or parts) of this aren’t true.

I played baseball, I saw how dumb some dudes were. It’s not difficult to put two and two together (well, it is for athletes sometimes).

But let’s look at the bigger picture.

What, exactly, are you trying to prove here? In fact, what are you trying to prove with this entire 5-part piece? Nobody (including the writers of the story) thinks Adrian Peterson or Vince Young weren’t helped through school and SI keeps telling me “this happens everywhere but not ALL of it happens everywhere” but I have yet to see a system that I can point to and say “wow, there has to be a fall guy for this.”

I see one-off dudes just trying to get by and a handful of academic folks who want to be liked by football players and, I mean, is that 5-part investigative report-worthy?

Amilian, OKC Dave, and I could have basically whipped up with SI did and you would have believed most of it.

Maybe there’s a bombshell coming but so far I’ve been unimpressed.

  • OSUaggie

    Les Miles graduated college?

  • g0p0kes

    #6- Can we just go ahead and call “professional athletics” a major? These guys weren’t recruited because they are good at reading. For the guys who want an education and a degree, great. For the guys who want a fast-track to the NFL, lets stop pretending their first responsibility to the University is as a student. Their first responsibility to the University is to be good at football. THAT is what their scholarship is for, THAT is what they are expected to do.

    We need to stop pretending these guys are “student-athletes” and start recognizing them (and compensating them) for what they really are: athletes who have more or less been hired by major schools to generate profit by winning on the field. I agree with Whitlock here- the NCAA system is the problem, why is SI intent on punishing the participants (both the players and the school they play for)?

    If you want the system to be about “students first, athletes second” then reform the way the NCAA works. It’s a joke that we can pay coaches millions of dollars and ESPN/FOX/SI, etc. can throw all their money around for contracts with conferences, yet we want to pretend that these are “student athletes.”

    I’m not justifying what happened, I think rules were definitely broken. My issue is with the rules themselves. You can’t expect guys to be fully-committed college students shooting for good grades and a degree when you are also expecting them to generate millions in revenue for your university and become good enough to be successful in the NFL.

    • Mark

      While I’m not pro-payment for student athletes, you do make a very solid point in my way of thinking. They absolutely are what Miles said with his fingers: Football first, academics second.

  • CD

    It just infuriates me that I see the ESPN crawl featuring the “OSU Scandal” and then going on to post what was “reported”.

    And the perception nationally will be, no matter how this washes out in the end, that OSU is a dirty program.

    I keep thinking this is Thayer’s wet dream.

  • TeaTown Cowboy

    They have better have a smoking gun in one of the three remaining pieces cause otherwise this is a big dud as far as revelations.

    • seandooley

      sex and drugs remain. then we have “the fallout”…I’m just not seeing much

    • g0p0kes

      Saw somebody yesterday say “So OSU has basically been accused of running a big-time football program.”

      That’s about what this looks like. SI needs to pony up on some evidence.

  • Scott H

    Can we go back to blogs making fun of Walsh’s passing game?
    I’m about done with watching this intellectual freak show.

    And we still have Syria to worry about.

    • TeaTown Cowboy

      Kyle has given up that “Walsh can’t pass very well” protest for the time being. Where’s my buddy, MarkW, don’t give up yet, Homey, lol?!

      • MarkW

        Nah, Walsh has won me over. I saw a huge improvement last weekend that I never expected. He’s got me. Sorry to disappoint.

        • TeaTown Cowboy

          Say it isn’t so, Joe, hah hah? Seriously though, dude put in some work on the throwing in the off-season!

          • MarkW

            I was blown away. Arm appears to be twice as strong as last year. Even footwork is better in the pocket. Throwing motion looks more crisp. He deserves a lot of credit for the work he’s put in to improve that much.

          • Scott H

            Group Hug!

          • MarkW

            I laughed.

          • TeaTown Cowboy

            Yeah, the dude is supposedly a cyborg when it comes to working out. But as you or I or both said, he hasn’t set the world on fire quite yet but I’m pretty confident this dude is JW Football. 🙂

          • MarkW

            Think I remarked about how he hadn’t set the world on fire but I’m starting to believe he has a good chance. Shame all this drivel is ruining what could have been good conversation this season. I’m pulling for JW to lead this team the right way and get it done like I’m now confident he can.

  • Reed

    I guess I’m the only one that doesn’t think it’s that crazy that Dez was 2nd team academic all big 12. That means he had between a 3.0 and a 3.19 GPA, and from the sound of it, he had some type of handlers forcing him to go to class every day, plus tutors. I know Dez isn’t a bright guy by any standard, but we’re talking about survey of american history, american government, freshman comp, probably some remedial math class… it does not take a person of anywhere near average intelligence to come out of that with a 3.0, especially with tutors and forced attendance. If you can read, you can make it through most freshman and sophomore level classes with a little bit of effort, and I’m pretty sure Dez wasn’t taking physics, chemistry, etc.

  • g0p0kes

    I just want to point out that one of the allegations in the 2nd article was that *GASP* the guys may have taken online classes because they are easier.

    Uh….isn’t that kind of the whole premise of an online class?

    Also, “steering them to majors” isn’t a scandal. That’s the job description of an academic counselor. If you want to be an engineer but you suck at math, it makes sense that your academic advisor would tell you to choose something else. And if you’re the academic advisor and you know a guy is only going to stick around for a year before being drafted, why wouldn’t you put him in classes you think he can pass? Why would you sign him up for classes he may not have the academic chops for?

  • brentparkey

    If you look at what won Dohrmann the Pulitzer, that article gets from this is the whistle blower to this is her documented proof in 6 paragraphs. They can’t do that once in this entire article? Surely they could have figured out who the tutors were at the time and find one of them who would speak out as well? If ever I saw an under appreciated group at OSU, the tutors for athletes were high up on the list. Surely they could have found at least one who would corroborate if not say, “here is what I wrote for Dez’s Comp I class,” and give them a paper.

    Are we supposed to be surprised Academic Support didn’t want any athlete taking classes taught by the professor who had a bi-annual rant about the Athletic Department in the O’Colly? (Darcy?) That isn’t a conspiracy, that’s being pragmatic for even the smartest student-athletes.

    The horses are out of the barn on a guy who can’t spell house once he got to college, or any number of things, the issue there is how did they qualify to begin with?

  • Dr. Funkenstein

    “All Day” Adrian Peterson bless his heart. I swear he is a cyborg of some kind based on the things he can do physically, but his CPU is unbelievably dated. It can be chocked up to the fact that he skipped his senior year to make the 2007 NFL draft, but he couldn’t have possibly graduated without some sort of advanced “tutoring” the way I see it. Football schemes even look difficult to him. I even thought what he said here was real the first time I saw it. 😛

  • BulletFan

    “There is a fine line between a tutor’s assisting a player in the composition of a paper and writing the paper for him.”

    There’s a fine line between assisting George Dohrmann on an investigative report where he wrote “every word” and providing him with ready built paragraphs slamming a school you’ve irrationally denigrated in the past.

  • seandooley

    There is no evidence. This is the digital age. There would be some form of evidence to back some claims up? or at least there should be.

    Of the SIXTY players they claim gave them information, why do they just keep quoting the same few players that left the program early whether it be grades or drugs or whatever. The title seems pretty accurate to the story, but who is playing “the dirty game”

  • g0p0kes

    Herschel Sims probably did need someone to do his homework for him. He wasn’t even smart enough to find one of these rich boosters who apparently just walk around throwing money to anyone with cleats on.

    Oh wait…Herschel was heavily recruited and pretty good at football. The boosters only pay guys you’ve never heard of, when they lose games.

    I’m confused.

    • TeaTown Cowboy

      ;D

  • seandooley

    Also, SI said when looking into OSU, they were intrigued because they found each of these things were rampant. Yet they claim very few players, and Dohrman mentioned a small number of orange pride girls.

    I have a hard time believing that OSU would be the only school where students cheated, had sex, used drugs, and had boosters involved. I call BS on that. Thayer has his Agenda. They can stop with the quick rise as well. I don’t get how it was quick. It’s just stupid. This is all about SI trying to desperately make money, and Thayer trying to take down OSU.

  • Rajder

    Here is an article written by an Ohio State guy about George Dohrmann concerning his involvement in the Ohio State Scandal. I find it interesting that the media seems to universally consider him untouchable (shocking that media members are protecting their own) but this definitely paints him in a different light.

    http://www.elevenwarriors.com/2011/06/late-hit

    This whole thing is getting pretty ludicrous and I’m starting to think that all of the SI reporters are scumbags, not just Thayer. I’m not saying I know how moral Dohrmann actually is. But from watching him on video I definitely believe the description of him being a shady guy with a limp hand shake and a big ego.

    • TeaTown Cowboy

      Me thinks he’s going down w/ the ship!

  • Dylan

    2. Its not always against the rules to have an old test. In fact I remember some professors saying, “If you know someone that has an old test, (Paraphrasing now) look at it”. Just b/c a test is out there doesn’t mean it can’t be used UNLESS they are collected up in the class and not supposed to be. And OKC Dave’s tweet makes a strong point that should go a long way regarding a “continual and willful disregard by the University”. As that keeps coming up as how the ncaa would potentially jump on us due to being past the statue of limitations.

    6. Professors change grades all the time. Its called a bell curve or sliding scale. Look at any of the engineering courses where the classes are actually pretty difficult (no disrespect to other majors, just going off what I know). Lets take my physics 1 class for example. I failed the first 2 tests! Both! And so did more than half of the class. But I ended up with an A in the class b/c I kicked ass on the homework and the final AND b/c the whole class got graded on the curve. Otherwise, I would estimate that more than 70% of that class would have straight up failed.

    I don’t want to make assumptions, but maybe the outstanding citizens that were spoken too could not wrap their head around this fact.

    13. I know people who failed out of school too. They didn’t put in the time or effort either. But they didn’t [email protected] and moan b/c the school somehow did not present things for them easier. A. Woods comes across like a whiny, immature kid based on what I have seen so far.

    14. In the interview Gottlieb conducted with Dohrmann, he asks G-Dub “why (come after) OSU, why not (insert several other schools)?” Did anyone else notice that he never gave him a straight answer? I think most of us have a strong suspicion that he was put on this by T. Evans, but I he never said anything alluding to that or where he got the idea.

    I’m frustrated by the articles so far and hope they don’t have more than recordings as proof. Unfortunately, I do NOT think that will be the case. I’ll still wear my Orange and cheer my Pokes on Saturday. Keep your heads held high OSU fans! We will all get through this together!

  • Lance Zed

    I’ve taught at several universities (none in this state). I can tell you that professors fudging grades for sob stories happens. It goes like this: a student comes you you after the final and says something like “oh, no, my scholarship requires that I have a X.X GPA and I REALLY need an A (or B or whatever) in this class or I lose it.” At this point, a number of thoughts go through your head: “Is this for real?”; “Did this student even try? (i.e. did she show up for office hours, or even class, etc.)”; “How much to I have to fudge an exam to give her this grade” among others.

    And then, on a case-by-case basis, you make a choice. You have hundreds of students. You’re grading tons of exams and essays. Your class is probably some class that, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t doing much but teaching some kids about Mozart or Mesopotamia or the Industrial Revolution. Do you want to ruin some kid’s scholarship (or chances of med school, or whatever) because you gave a B+ instead of an A? Maybe. And sometimes, I’ve had to look some kid in the face and say “sorry– can’t help you” and that’s annoying that the kid put me in that position (begging me to do something) but you do it. But other times (especially when they HAVE made an effort), you re-read an exam essay and say “OK, fair enough, I was maybe too harsh in how I graded this answer so I’ll give you a few points back” and maybe it’s enough to bump that to a new letter-grade.

    Point is, this isn’t some crazy thing that ONLY happens to football players. All sorts of kids come and say “In order to maintain my scholarship/eligibility/etc. I need a better grade” and grade changes happen. Not much of a scandal.

  • Lance Zed

    “There is a fine line between a tutor’s assisting a player in the composition of a paper and writing the paper for him”

    Perhaps. But from what it sounds like, Evans took what players were saying and twisted them to fit his “I hate OSU” narrative. From an O’Colly interview with Jonathan Cruz:

    “My statement that he quoted me with the whole paper thing, I told him the guy who was there, I don’t remember his name. It started with a K, Josh something. I told him I didn’t know how to write a paper, not that I turned in papers and they would rewrite them for me. I would write papers, they would critique them and correct them so that I would know how to write a paper. I learned how to write a paper my freshman year. Because I had never been in a situation in high school where I had to write out these long, drawn-out papers.”

    This sounds absolutely normal. But a crafty, vendetta-driven “journalist” could easily rip a quote to make it sound like “Josh K.” just wrote a paper for him. (Which, by the way– who would do that? I’ve been a tutor. I had my OWN papers to write. You’d have to pay me a LOT of money to write some football player’s papers, too.) Of course a tutor is going to take a first draft and talk through how to re-write it– perhaps even craft some sentences and help structure a paragraph. That’s how tutoring works. But again, it would be easy to imagine that you could rip a quote to make it sound bad when it’s actually 100% normal.

  • Sri

    I have read other OSU blogs to see how the fan base is reacting. You provide the most reasonable, honest assessment I could hope for from a OSU fan. I appreciate the journalistic honesty you provide, as opposed to the OSU SBnation site which summarily dismisses the subject or engages in tearing down the character of the reporters involved.

    Well done.