Report: Oklahoma State Coaches Paid Players, Boosters Offered Money for Players to Catch Fish

Mike GundyOklahoma State might be in big trouble with the NCAA.

Eight former Oklahoma State football players admitted to receiving cash payments during their careers in Stillwater, Okla., in an in-depth investigative piece that will run in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated. Those players alleged that 29 other former OSU players had taken money during their time at the school, too, between 2001 and at least 2011.

The report, a five-part series set to be released in daily segments over the next week, will highlight other improprieties by the program, as well, with sections dedicated to academics, drugs and sex. Tuesday’s edition focused on the money.

Through a series of interviews with 64 former Oklahoma State players, SI found that players were being paid by assistant coaches as well as boosters for a variety of reasons. The payments were delivered in three primary ways, according to the report, including a bonus system for on-field performances, direct payments to players from boosters and assistant coaches, and finally boosters paying players for “sham” jobs that included little or no work.

Former players such as cornerback Calvin Mickens (2005 to 2009), safety Fath’ Carter (2000 to ’03) and defensive end William Bell, who was dismissed from the team in 2005, were among the players who admitted to taking money in the report. Mickens revealed he was often handed cash from boosters after good games. Carter alleged that another booster, John Talley, often paid he and his teammates $100 or $200 for 15-to-20 minute speaking engagements. Meanwhile, Bell revealed that he and another teammate were paid “a couple hundred dollars” for fishing for catfish at a different booster’s home — and he says they got to keep the catfish.

The allegations are very serious, especially as the NCAA attempts to crack down on such improprieties with investigations into other schools, such as the University of Miami, for similar violations.

LSU head coach Les Miles coached the Cowboys from 2001 to 2004. Mike Gundy, who was the school’s offensive coordinator during Miles’ tenure, has been the head man at the program ever since.

Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder held a press conference on Tuesday to apologize in advance of the report’s release.

Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.

Photo via Facebook/Mike Gundy

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