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Some great thoughts on SI and OSU from John Walters

Such a great breakdown of Sports Illustrated and OSU from someone outside the Oklahoma State circle.

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Photo Attribution: USATSI

Photo Attribution: USATSI

Then on Sunday night he weighed in on the entire series via Twitter. I emailed John to ask if I could run what he wrote in paragraph form and he said that was cool. So here it is, and it’s worth the read…

I’m finally getting around to devouring SI’s 5-part Oklahoma State series and, as someone who covered CFB for nearly two decades, I’ll say this…the worst crime of the series thus far? It’s boring. So far it’s a bunch of guys we’ve never heard of sharing he said/she said stuff¬†and even then, professors names are not noted.

I don’t doubt that a lot of this happened[1. Ditto, by the way.] as it happens at a number of FBS programs, but I also don’t doubt that the infusion of T. Boone Pickens’ money had a lot to do with Oklahoma State’s improvement.

SI could’ve done same story on…Oregon, but then why would u wanna piss off a major advertiser like Nike? You wouldn’t.

I’ll keep reading, but thus far this is crap journalism. The premise of the SI series was, purportedly, How did a school like Oklahoma State get so good so fast? And then SI spends 10,000 words NOT answering the question.

OSU improved because of $500 handshakes and no-show classes where u get a B when u deserve an F? Then how come…the 2 to 3 dozen other schools (at least) who do that didn’t improve like that?

And might I infer that this is how Stanford improved so…quickly since its crap years 2006-07? The cause-effect reasoning here is childish. The anecdotal evidence has no basis on why OSU got…better.

Did they find a guy who said, “While I was being recruited I was told I’d be getting paid based on my play?” I don’t think so. So how did those $500 handshakes have any effect on how OSU recruited, because recruiting and coaching is how a program improves.

You know what would have been a far more interesting read, make the same exact point, and have taken less time for Sports Illustrated to do? Show up in Tuscaloosa in July (all the Tide players are there) and just do a photo gallery of the starters and the cars they drive. Then start asking questions.

Instead, SI did a very broad story on one program, with characters most of us have never heard of, and in most cases, could not produce indisputable proof of the claims.

I believe the people, for the most part, but that’s hardly the point. This kind of stuff goes on at many big programs. Find me a real smoking gun. Tell a tighter story. And if u are going to do this all on OSU, SHOW ME how what went on here translated into wins on the field. Because you haven’t, SI. You haven’t.

As stated before, I know many of the people behind and in front of the scenes at SI (one or two of them may still even like me). This was an epic fail considering the resources devoted and what was produced.

Tim Layden and I once spent some time at UF doing a two-part piece on student bookies. Our story was tight and I’d like to think it was entertaining. We exposed something people were unaware of.

This…didn’t.

You can follow John on Twitter here:


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