Oklahoma State will investigate SI allegations

Oklahoma State University announced Monday the appointment of a former NCAA Director of Enforcement to lead an independent review into misconduct allegations described in a series of articles published by Sports Illustrated.

The accusations outlined in the SI series, "The Dirty Game," primarily happened between 2001-2007.

"With the strong support of the OSU Board of Regents, I have authorized a thorough and expeditious investigation," OSU president Burns Hargis said. "To assure that the investigation is unwavering in its pursuit of the truth, the university has retained Charles E. Smrt, a veteran NCAA enforcement officer and one of the foremost experts in the compliance field, to serve as lead independent investigator."

Smrt is President and Founder of The Compliance Group, a Lenexa, Kansas, based consulting firm that specializes in compliance audits and the review of information concerning potential NCAA violations. Prior to founding The Compliance Group in 1999, Smrt was on the NCAA enforcement staff for almost 18 years as Director of Enforcement and Director of Enforcement Supervisor for the NCAA in Overland Park, Kansas.

The magazine said it conducted a 10-month probe that included interviews with 64 Oklahoma State football players from 1999 to 2011, as well as current and former staff members.

A five-part series, starting with money, was published last Tuesday on SI's website. In addition to illegal payments of players, the series consists of academic misconduct, drug use and sexual favors.

"While the articles do not implicate any current coaches or players to have direct involvement in any alleged misconduct, we have a responsibility to confront these disturbing reports head on and with complete transparency," Hargis said.

According to the story, the payments to players ranged from money for big plays during a game to cash from sham jobs performed. The money, anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 annually, came from boosters and assistant coaches. Some star players even received upwards of $25,000.

Brad Girtman, a defensive tackle from 2003-04, told SI that he was paid on the low end, receiving at most $500 from a football staff member. He also said he saw some stars get "monster payments."

Girtman said his pay rates -- $50 for a quarterback hurry and up to $250 for a sack -- were told to him by assistant Joe DeForest, who worked under head coach Les Miles from 2001-04 and current Cowboys coach Mike Gundy until 2011.

DeForest is now an assistant at West Virginia and denied the allegations.

The SI story said boosters were not permitted access to players when Bob Simmons was head coach from 1995 to 2000, but Miles loosened the reins when he took over in 2001. Miles, though, apparently told the magazine that players were not paid and boosters were not given much access.

As far as academic issues, the brief overview said teammates indicated that school work was done for them. The drug use included players smoking marijuana before games, and a small number of members in the football program's hostess group had sex with recruits.