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Part One Of SI’s “Dirty Game” Investigation Into Miles’ Oklahoma State Program Isn’t Pretty

screen-captureBad 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.

 


4 comments
sojourner
sojourner

everybody's dirty?  i'd suggest the writer look up the definition of tu quoque.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@sojourner

I don't think so, my friend.  I'm not making an argument trying to discredit Sports Illustrated's piece.  I don't doubt for a second that this stuff went on under Miles at OSU.  I also wouldn't be surprised to find out that it goes on under Miles at LSU, for that matter.  Or under any other coach at any other BCS-level program.

Coaches can't be with their players 24/7 and -- as stated in the piece -- there's not a school in the country where a big time athlete can't find a good deal on a car, a free meal, some new clothes, or a simple hundred dollar handshake.  I've talked to too many ex-athletes from too many big programs to pretend otherwise.

Example: Everyone views Steve Spurrier as squeaky-clean when it comes to rules violations.  He even dared the NCAA to look into his South Carolina program.  And then he found out that a number of his players had been getting cut-rate deals on living quarters.  I personally don't think Spurrier knew that was going on or else he wouldn't have been so smug about the NCAA sniffing around.  But it still went on.  

I think Mark Richt runs about the cleanest program in the SEC.  By all accounts, he may be the nicest, most upstanding, church-going fella this side of Tim Tebow.  But the University of Georgia still has "Gameday Hosts" who are sometimes given "gameday outfits," according to the UGA student newspaper.  Now why do you think a school would use pretty girls -- and help dress them -- as hosts for campus visitors and recruits?  (http://www.redandblack.com/news/gameday-hosts-sell-university-experience-to-recruits/article_0fbf79db-8d35-5663-b12b-866833331eab.html

And if you'd like to bet me that there's a high-profile program out there where no athlete is smoking marijuana and where no recruit has ever slept with a hostess, I'll take that bet in a heartbeat.  

I wasn't saying, "so what?" to the Miles piece.  I was simply saying the things covered in that piece go on everywhere to some extent (also wrote in the piece that some schools are dirtier than others).  But if I rob a bank, get caught, and say that other guys rob banks, too, I'm not going to have much success with that defense.  I'd still be guilty whether anyone else did what I did or not.  So I wasn't trying to act as a shield for Miles (as I also stated).

I was just trying to let fans of other schools know that they shouldn't go tossing too many stones at LSU for something that reportedly happened under Miles a decade ago at another school.  That's because most fans probably wouldn't want SI.com digging around on their school's campus.  There's dirt to be found everywhere.

Now how's 'bout a mea culpa?  (See?  I got me a handy Latin phrase book!)

As always, many thanks for reading the site,

John

(PS:  Just to be clear, the tone of my response was intended to be Andy Griffith-esque, not snarky.)

Jerry Mathers
Jerry Mathers

Given that opinion, I'm sure that even a casual glance at the last few years of this site would yield an even coverage of individual and institutional criticism.

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