T. Boone Pickens, who’s a massive Oklahoma State booster, isn’t buying
Sports Illustrated’s big reporton alleged violations committed by the OSU football program.
In a statement, Pickens said he was disappointed by SI’s “sensational” reporting, and argued that the report totally ignored what’s happening at the school today.
In Part One of SI’s five-part investigation yesterday, former players claimed they were paid a few hundred dollars under-the-table for performance.
There’s one word I have for the Sports Illustrated reporting on Oklahoma State University: Disappointing.
This series is not reflective of Oklahoma State University today. Many of their sensational allegations go back a decade ago.
There have been wholesale changes at the school in recent years in leadership and facilities. During that time, I have given more than $US500 million to OSU, for athletics and academics. Have I gotten my money’s worth? You bet. We have a football program that has a commitment to principled sportsmanship. They understand the expectations we, as fans and supporters, have for the program. We have an incredible and growing fan base, and a loyal group of alums that believe in the character of our players, coaches and administrators.
But I do welcome this scrutiny. If people take the time, it’s an opportunity to better understand where Oklahoma State is today, not a decade ago. It’s a different university today. It’s a better university. If there are areas where we need to improve, we’ll do it.
Which leads me back to my disappointment with Sports Illustrated, and their failure to ask the most important question of all: What’s happening at OSU today?
Pickens isn’t the only one criticising the SI story.
ESPN’s Jason Whitlock went on an epic rant yesterday where he called one of the authors of the story, Thayer Evans, a “hack” and a diehard Oklahoma fan.
Other critics — including us — are saying that the report does the NCAA’s dirty work by villainizing players without addressing the structural issues that lead to players taking food money from boosters in the first place.
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