Updates from Monday, July 21
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy spoke to ESPN's Joe Schad about the investigation into the program:
Earlier, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby commented on the investigation, per Schad:
The Sports Illustrated story that was supposed to shake Oklahoma State's football program to the core is finally getting closer to having a ripple effect. A university spokesperson confirmed to ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy on Monday that the school is still undergoing a formal NCAA investigation.
"The inquiry continues and it is hoped that it will conclude within the next few months," the spokesperson said. "The university anticipates releasing a report after the NCAA concludes its process. Since it is an ongoing inquiry conducted in cooperation with the NCAA, the university is unable to comment further at this time."
In September, Sports Illustrated published a five-part series detailing rampant malfeasance of Oklahoma State's football program. The series alleged school officials, coaches and boosters knowingly broke NCAA rules when it came to recruiting student-athletes and retaining their eligibility. The violations included monetary payment, fudging of player grades and even the use of sex with Orange Pride girls.
The series made national headlines but has come under some scrutiny.
Multiple people involved, including former head coach Les Miles, have denied the allegations. McMurphy's report also cites numerous inaccuracies, including the graduation status of some athletes. Players who were even quoted in the story came out in its immediate aftermath to deny they took illicit benefits—or even spoke with Sports Illustrated at all.
Dom Cosentino at Deadspin also claimed SI was irresponsible when reporting the story, including Sports Illustrated's unwillingness to allow the school to address claims made before publishing:
The magazine also declined to give OSU the opportunity to address specific claims or corroborate basic information about players, coaches, tutors, and professors. Partly, this was a tactical decision by journalists not wishing to leave footprints all over Stillwater while reporting a sensitive story, but it would backfire when it turned out that a key source's claims could have been refuted with a simple phone call.
Sports Illustrated was recently named in a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative John Talley, per Randy Ellis of The Oklahoman. Talley claims the magazine knowingly printed false information about his relationships with athletes.
The controversy surrounding the story helps explain why it has taken so long to come to a conclusion. Oklahoma State hired Charles E. Smrt to investigate the situation, and he has spent almost nine months doing so. The spokesperson told McMurphy their internal investigation is almost over.
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