Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Les Miles is accused of having multiple indiscretions occur on his watch. It’ll be interesting to see if that follows him to LSU.
Part five of the series, entitled The Fallout, comes out on Tuesday the 17th and will discuss the implications of these allegations. Sports Illustrated promises not to just talk about NCAA sanctions, but the personal lives that were affected. Jail time, drug addiction, and attempted suicides have been the results. It can be difficult for high profile athletes to responsibly handle the entitlement their positions carry anyway, and the Oklahoma State treatment kicked that pressure up another notch. The transition back to “normal” life can be difficult for players, and for those that were busted in college as part of a scheme school officials may have allowed under their watch, culpability is a tricky thing to fully grasp.
Earlier this year it was announced that Oregon would be slapped with probation and some minor sanctions for improper interactions with a recruiting service. If you’ll recall, the Big 12 saw similar allegations just a few years ago when Colorado was using generous provisions of alcohol and sex to lure recruits to play at Boulder. Oklahoma has seen a couple illegal car sales gigs held by players, former Big 12 member Texas A&M is obviously having issues with current quarterback Johnny Manziel, and this week ESPN has been running a story on five SEC players that received improper benefits (which has been promoted as ESPN appears to be jumping on SI’s bandwagon).
Oklahoma State has promised to launch a full investigation, and it looks like there’s too much momentum for the NCAA to not become highly involved. It’s not something I’m ready to celebrate. As far as the conference is concerned, the economics of college football is a zero-sum game. The Pac 12’s loss is the Big 12’s gain, and there’s no interest in seeing the SEC thrive. Yet within the conference, a rising tide lifts all boats. If Oklahoma State can put together one of the nation’s best teams and make it to the national championship game, the media revenues of recruiting prestige will spill over to other teams such as K-State. Nobody wants a team with the death penalty pulling down the other programs.
I’m not insinuating Oklahoma State will get the death penalty. I’m promising this story doesn’t end well for the Cowboys. The school already has a black eye, before any allegation has been proven; even the reputations of those found innocent are wrecked by being accused of crimes. Several former players have already come to the defense of the program and the veracity of some of the statements against Oklahoma State has been called into major question. Still, the football team will suffer after being on a ridiculously upward trajectory following the tens of millions T. Boone Pickens has pumped into the school, which included a Fiesta Bowl victory over the Andrew Luck-led Stanford squad in 2012. What sucks is that the fallout will splash across the plains and splatter the Wildcats. I love how well Bill Snyder’s team is able to keep out of trouble. And when they do have issues, they don’t play (think Andre McDonald, who missed his entire junior year). So there’s pride, but there’s also disappointment. I stand behind this Wildcat team – I’m proud of what Bill Snyder has done bringing in lightly recruited players and consistently winning. And I’m disappointed Oklahoma State’s screw up threatens to damage the entire league.