The OSU allegations for Sports Illustrated have hit the Internet today, according to a Sept. 10 KJRS CBS 2 report. The magazine released the first part of its five part story called "The Dirty Game" online this morning, and it will run in the print magazine later.
The first part of the OSU allegations has to do with pay for play, or "The Money." Several former OSU players went on the record with Sports Illustrated alleging that OSU boosters and even coaches paid certain players for performance. Also, they said that players were paid for jobs they did not complete, or grossly overpaid for jobs they did for boosters and even coaches.
Of course, there are a few problems with this report. First of all, the main writer of the report is Thayer Evans who was fired from Fox Sports for making up things. Not only that, but Evans also has a history of negativity towards Oklahoma State University as evidenced by his previous articles, and he was also a University of Oklahoma student.
Of course several of the former players who went on the record with SI were players who were kicked off the team for one reason or another. Every player who played his entire college career at OSU who has spoken out has said they have not seen anything like this happening, and that they never took money for performance. Former OSU quarterback Josh Fields went on record with ESPN saying,
"I'm in disbelief. Never had anyone attempt to give me money or saw teammates accept money."
Baltimore Ravens tight end and former OSU player Billy Bajema also responded to the OSU allegations. He said,
"I never once during my time there saw for myself any kind of extra payment going on with an envelope the way it is described in that article. I never saw a booster handing out envelopes on an airplane. I never saw them walking up and down aisles. I never saw any of that. It’s all news to me. If that stuff is true, it's the best-kept secret ever."
Most players reiterated that there were no boosters walking around in the locker room after games. One of the most offensive parts of the article is the naming of Fellowship of Christian Athletes director for the north central region of Oklahoma Director John Talley.
Bajema said of John Talley,
"I think John’s goal was to give people an opportunity to learn to work hard to earn money and to have a job. I think that rather than let people have easy jobs or no-show jobs like it is portrayed in the article, I think he provided guys with the opportunity to learn work ethic and that’s what his goal was in allowing guys to go out there and try to earn some money.
He is the FCA leader in that area and part of his job is to have an influence in the athletes at Oklahoma State and try to have a positive impact in their lives and he did that in any way he could. I never saw him operate in any way that I thought lacked integrity whatsoever. I always appreciated the influence he had on me and had on my teammates and his conduct was upright."
Many other OSU players have been quick to speak out against these OSU allegations. This is a compilation of the tweets. Ultimately, somebody is lying in this instance. Is it the dozens, if not hundreds, of former players who are speaking out now, or is it the few who were paid by SI to give their interviews?
Obviously the truth will end up coming out when this is investigated, and there could be some things that went on. However, it seems highly unlikely that it is the way SI describes it. The magazine also appears to have maligned a good person in John Talley, which is awful.
The rest of the parts of this five part story will be released each day this week. Are they worth reading? Who knows. Do they seem credible? Not really right now. Thayer Evans' name being tied to this report certain does not do it any good.