Breaking Down Inconsistencies of Part 4 of SI Expose on Oklahoma State Football
The fourth installment by Sports Illustrated on Oklahoma State football titled "The Sex" received perhaps the most criticism of any part of the controversial series.
"The Sex," according to SI, concentrates on a small number of OSU's hostess group who "had sexual relations" with recruits over an 11-year span from 2001 to '11. Orange Pride members, like other hostess groups around the country, are responsible for highlighting the university's best attributes and selling the school.
Sometimes, they allegedly have sex with the recruits. Hopefully, voluntarily.
What stands out from Part 4 is not how many girls did or didn't sleep with players. Frankly, it doesn't even matter if having sex with a recruit is an NCAA violation like SI hinted it was in its preview.
What is important is if the sex, if and when it occurred, was consensual and not coerced by anyone—the recruit, Oklahoma State, or even the hostess.
By just about every account in the story, that wasn't an issue. The one time it reportedly was, the recruit had his scholarship offer pulled.
If there's outrage to be directed anywhere at the moment, it should be at what's happening at Vanderbilt University. Friday morning, the Nashville Tennessean released graphic details of the alleged rape incident that occurred over the summer involving multiple former players of the football team.
So if sex among recruits and hostesses isn't the big deal—provided it's voluntary—what is? That comes at the end of Part 4. What should be the lede for another, larger concern is buried in the final paragraphs:
On the surface, what allegedly occurred at those schools and with the small number of Orange Pride members and recruits in Stillwater might appear harmless. But is it? Players told SI there was a sense of entitlement among teammates, that they felt that the women on campus existed for their pleasure. Says Katherine Redmond Brown, founder of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes, 'Things like hostess programs are a big part of that toxic conditioning.'
The simple truth is that an all-female group of hostesses isn't necessary to show recruits around or explain why their university is the best in the country.
I think we can all agree hostess groups are sexually suggestive and that some members will have sex with recruits. That felt like piling on— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) September 13, 2013
It should be pointed out that members of the Orange Pride group are volunteers, and it doesn't take membership to that group or any group to be thought of or treated as an object. According to former OSU players who spoke to SI, females not in the group would willingly have sex with players as well.
And, to be fair, there are former Orange Pride members who spoke to SI who said they refused to be sexually involved with recruits.
"People did cross the line. That's why I was only in the program for one year," said one former Orange Pride member to SI. "It was very disturbing. When I found out, that's why I quit."
Still, that doesn't mean the issue of objectifying women for the sake of recruiting didn't, or still doesn't, exist across the landscape of college football.
And if there's a problem "The Sex" needs to further identify, it's that.
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.
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