I feel like I just sat at my computer for 14 hours today and this ephemeral fist kept launching itself through my computer screen and delivering blows to my face and body all day.
I honestly felt physically ill for most of the day — not because of the allegations or anything like that, just because of how big and far-reaching and crazy this whole thing is. And probably a little because I’m not sure if Dallas, Texas has enough coffee to get me through the next week.
A few thoughts on what was one of the longest days of my blogging life…
1. I’ve tried really, really hard to stay objective on this and fair to all parties involved but if I’m scoring this thing, it feels like OSU took Round 1. Basically Sports Illustrated wrote a bunch of stuff today that former player said was truth and a lot MORE former players said was bunk. The problem was that SI didn’t show me anything I didn’t already think was going to go down.
Like, if you would have told me on Monday night “Kyle, go write the script for what you think will be in the SI piece” I would have come up with something very similar to what George Dohrmann and Thayer Evans produced. And, just like SI, I wouldn’t have shown any evidence.
The whole “we have everything on tape” thing is fine and I believe it 100%. Sports Illustrated would be laughed out of journalism if it didn’t (sorry, Tatum) but you’re going to have to come at me with a lot more girth than what you did today.
I’m hesitant to call it hatchet-y because I’m way too close to all of this but the fact that so many guys who were legit dudes (Russell Okung, Andre Sexton, etc.) said “SI never contacted me about this story” makes it feel a little hatchet-y. It feels like there are two sides to it and SI not only didn’t tell the other one but had no interest in doing so.
2. That being said, I do believe at least a little of what was reported is true. It can’t all not be true. Like I said earlier today, there’s no way Brad Girtman is smart enough to make all of this up with the level of detail he (and others provided). Samantha Vicent said this on our podcast earlier today and I totally buy into it: The truth is likely somewhere in the middle.
3. My Andre Sexton podcast, man, I can’t tell you enough times to go listen to that thing. My dad isn’t one for hyperbole but he called me tonight and was like “that dude is the best OSU athlete I’ve heard speak!” I told Nolan that and he said “wow, do you think your dad is taking shots at you??” All seriousness though, Sexton was fantastic.
4. I seriously can’t remember two sides (SI and OSU + former players) stockpiling their sides more quickly or vociferously than what happened today.
You had reasonable, smart former Oklahoma State football players losing their minds over the fact that anybody would claim this happened. And on the other side you had this:
People attacking SI's credibility are fighting a losing battle. Our editors have editors. Our lawyers have lawyers. This was fully vetted.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) September 10, 2013
OSU is trying so hard to stay out in front of it (which, not sure making a site quoting what Jason Whitlock thinks of Thayer Evans is your best move from a litigious perspective, but whatever) and I really feel like Mike Holder is all in on whatever eventually comes of this.
It’s gonna end badly for somebody.
5. I also love media folks taking dead aim at SI. This whole thing is just so crazy.
OSU will be accused of using sex as sales pitch to recruits. Would SI ever use sex as sales pitch? pic.twitter.com/RoPoOgjWvl
— Jimmie Tramel (@JimmieTramel) September 11, 2013
6. It feels like this story by News9 is actually a better indication of what happened. Again, I’ll reserve judgement until SI shoves the evidence in front of my face or says it doesn’t have any but if I’m just making predictions based on everything I’ve read and heard so far, I think that feels like a more reasonable version of what actually happened.
7. This tweet crushed me:
Boosters were making it rain in the locker room after we beat MONTANA STATE by 5 points? LOLOLOL now that's comedy… #false
— Yves Batoba (@Ybatoba) September 10, 2013
8. This one did, too:
Pay to play? I almost had to pay #okstate to let me on the field. But I guess I wasn't nearly as productive as the likes of an XLK.
— Andrew Mitchell (@AndrewMitch) September 10, 2013
9. What am I supposed to do with this paragraph?
Often lost in the discussion about whether college football players should receive more than room, board and a scholarship is that some already are compensated, in violation of NCAA rules.
I feel like SI is talking to me like I’m a child. I don’t even know why that sentence is in there.[1. Disclaimer: I’m a HUGE SI fan. SI was the first publication I read as a kid and this expose doesn’t mean I’m going to stop subscribing.]
10. My dad brought up a good point (need to get him on a podcast at some point, btw) about how this plays nationally. The problem, if you’re OSU, is that now the outcome means nothing. You knocked Week 1 of the NFL off the cover of SI and that’s the only thing people are going to remember. The damage has been done for the most part already from a national perception, now you’re just trying to keep the NCAA at bay at this point.
11. The odds that Thayer Evans didn’t write this paragraph are not high (and probably 0%):
In 2006 an internal investigation at Oklahoma revealed that Sooners quarterback Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman J.D. Quinn worked a few hours a week at a car dealership but filed padded time sheets and collected thousands of dollars in unearned income. The players were dismissed from the team in a scandal that rocked Norman. But the Sooners’ violations paled next to the bogus jobs 83 miles away, in Stillwater.
12. This might not matter but it kind of does: Why have no legit stars come forward? Actually, why has there only been one person at all that has come forward and said “yeah, I said that to SI?” You think the Oklahoman and Tulsa World haven’t been calling people all day? SI attaching a star to this story would give a whole lot more weight to it and would, you know, actually make sense given that people were taking cash for performance.
13. Speaking of people coming forward — and Sexton addressed this in the podcast — who were the boosters allegedly in the locker rooms and why were they there? Sexton said it was absurd to think that anybody who shouldn’t have been in there would have been in there and wondered aloud of there was “a magic elevator” that players went to to meet with these boosters. I was dying.
14. Wednesday is the 12th anniversary of 9/11 so, yeah, perspective.