First and Cliche, Cowboys pinned deep in their own territory
by Barry Friedman
According to Sports Illustrated, Oklahoma State University may have spent the first half of the last decade with its hand not only in the cookie jar, but the cash register, pharmacy shelf, academic records, and one or two hoo-hahs.
SI will release the report piecemeal over the next week, which means at least seven more days of press conferences and chagrined OSU officials in official NCAA gear, alternately shocked, angry, disappointed, defensive, contrite, but promising to look to the future.
Probably won't be the most fruitful recruiting week for the school.
For now, here are some of the allegations:
-Cash payments to players
-Academic misconduct and phony jobs
-Usage of drugs both tolerated and encouraged by university officials.
-A program, called Orange Pride, where its female hostesses were alleged to have had sex with recruits.
(Yeah, that's what they were called.)
From what I can gather from statements made by the OSU brain trust so far, if and when the chickens come home to roost, the university will be prepared to pay the piper, face the music, and meet its responsibilities head on, and that at the end of the day, they will deal with this adversity by being firm, decisive leaders who will take stock, pull themselves up by their boot straps, dust themselves off, and not pass the buck ... which, of course, is one of the reasons they may be in trouble in the first place.
In short, the situation calls for some soul searching ... and pablum, corp speak, bromides, and repetitive self-congratulatory drivel.
And cliches. Lots of them. A Sky Loft at Boone Pickens Stadium full of them.
Thank the good lord upstairs we have some.
Athletic Director Mike Holder
“At the end of the day, we’ll come to some conclusions and we’ll deal with those, prop ourselves back up, polish up that OSU brand and move on down the road.”Cliche Count: 2
Head Football Coach Mike Gundy
“I know you guys are going to have questions about Sports Illustrated and obviously I’m here to talk about (Saturday’s opponent) Lamar,” he said. “There won’t any further comment from me concerning this issue. I will say that we -- our staff, myself -- are focused on our team, doing the right things. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished here both on and off the field.
Cliche Count: 3
“We’re not going to try to cover anything up. I’m the guy in charge and ultimately the buck stops at my door. I’m willing to accept responsibility for whatever is being said.”
Cliche Count: 1
When asked whether he looks forward to sharing his side of the story, Gundy said: “I think the university looks forward to when they can give our side. This is not an individual story. I’ll be real honest with you. I know the part that may have involved me. I’m not sure we know it all yet. But we’ve had tremendous support from administration, from the people behind the scenes who have looked at this and researched it.Cliche count: 3
OSU President Burns Hargis
"Oklahoma State University is deeply troubled by these claims. We will investigate the accuracy of the allegations and take all appropriate action. We do not condone or tolerate improper conduct in our athletic programs. OSU requires everyone affiliated with the university to follow the rules and adhere to the highest ethical standards."
Cliche count: 2
"We are committed to playing by the rules on and off the field. We strive to be a source of pride for our fans, our university and the Big 12 Conference."
Cliche count: 2
“ … I’m going to guess that once we get all the information and we see what’s out there, then our administration and the people inside will look at it and we’ll see where we made mistakes and we’ll try to make ourselves better and we’ll correct it and then we’ll move forward. And I would hope that there will be some of it that we look at and say I’m not sure one way or the other based on what’s out there.”Cliche count: 2
“My message was, ‘You’re not going to like what you hear; it’s going to be a rough few days, but our hope is you might not be proud of what’s being said about you but we hope to make you proud about how we dealt with it and how we stood up, didn’t make any excuses.'Cliche count: 1
" ... The Sports Illustrated situation is an unfortunate situation that we all do not look forward to any of it coming out and based on how much of it is true or not, we don’t know. But the point is, whether we like it or not, it's a great learning lesson for (the players)."
Cliche count: 2
“We’re all committed to playing by the rules and doing things the right way, and for people to say that is not what’s happening is very disturbing. Our goal is to separate fact from fiction, and then we can start dealing with it. We’ve already notified the NCAA, and they’re going to assign an investigator to this. We’ll reach out and get someone to stand with that investigator and go through the facts. And at the end of the day, we’ll come to some conclusions, and we’ll deal with those. We’ll prop ourselves back up polish up that OSU brand and move on down the road. (Triple Bonus--3 points)
Cliche Count:: 5
Total Cliches: 23
We conclude, though, not with cliches but with the Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler of the Cowboys, T. Boone Pickens, the university's uber-booster and person who knows a good investment when he sees one.
"There have been wholesale changes at the school in recent years in leadership and facilities. During that time, I have given more than $500 million to OSU, for athletics and academics. Have I gotten my money’s worth? You bet.Oh, that's good and exactly what you want people focusing on--whether you feel good about your investment.
"Which leads me back to my disappointment with Sports Illustrated, and their failure to ask the most important question of all: What’s happening at OSU today?"If you think that's the most important question of all, you should take a good, hard look at yourself, because you're a day late, a dollar short, and whistling past the graveyard.