Bad news first: current LSU head coach Les Miles is mentioned prominently in Sports Illustrated’s new expose on the Oklahoma State football program.
Worse news? Today’s post at SI.com is the first installment in a five-part series. So get ready for more and more dirt, LSU fans.
According to SI writers George Dohrman and Thayer Evans (alert the Tiger conspiracy theorists), Miles opened the door to boosters when he arrived in Stillwater in 2001. Soon, “boosters were permitted in the locker room; they were often on team flights and bus trips; they turned up at the training table.” After Oklahoma State’s win over Oklahoma in ’01, it’s alleged that OSU boosters were allowed into the Cowboys’ locker room after the game and that they “approached key players and slipped cash into their hands.” One ex-player told the magazine, “We are talking about $500 handshakes.”
Miles — as SI.com points out — denies that players were paid and he claims “he gave boosters less access to the program, not more.”
Former OSU and Miles assistant Joe DeForest is charged with directly paying Cowboy players as part of a bonus system designed to reward good play. Miles said Saturday night, “I don’t know of any improprieties while I was coaching there.”
Now, there will likely be no NCAA sanctions for any of this. It’s outside the statute of limitations (though the NCAA has a funny way of picking and choosing what’s inside and outside it’s time limits). The concern for Miles is that some enterprising Louisiana-based sportswriter starts snooping around to see if more boosters arrived on the LSU scene when Miles took over.
After today’s look-see into OSU’s alleged bonus system, booster payouts, coach payouts, and “bogus jobs,” SI will dive into academic fraud, drug use, and the use of hostesses to lure in Cowboy recruits with sex. According to the magazine, Oklahoma State’s hostess program tripled in size under Miles.
If you listen closely, you can hear LSU beatwriters flipping through old media guides to see if LSU’s hostess program has grown since Miles arrived in Baton Rouge.
Not to provide too much cover for Miles here, but if you think there’s a football program in the country where some boosters don’t provide cash, where some players aren’t given bogus jobs, where hostesses don’t have sex with recruits, and where some athletes aren’t using drugs… you’re living a fantasy world.
People who know me often ask, “How can you not be a fan of a college football team?” My response is always the same — If you spent the day touring a hot dog factory, you’re not going to order a hot dog for lunch. There’s a lot of dirt out there. Everywhere. Some programs are dirtier than others and we may well find that Oklahoma State under Miles falls into that category. But sex and drugs and boosters? Sorry, that’s just the seedy underside of the game.
And, yes, it’s happening at your favorite school, too.