SI reports rampant drug use at Oklahoma State
Sports Illustrated reported widespread drug use among Oklahoma State players in its latest installment in a series on the school's football program.
The SI story, published online Thursday, included allegations from former players of teammates smoking marijuana before games, stars avoiding punishment for positive drug tests while others with less talent were kicked off the team or suspended, team members selling drugs, and coaching joking with players about their drug use.
Thirty former Cowboys players told SI that they smoked pot and three admitted to being dealers.
"I was kind of in disbelief that people could do the things that they were doing," former offensive lineman Jonathan Cruz said. "It was tied to how well you could produce. If you could produce on Saturday, things could be overlooked."
Former running back Herschel Sims told SI that numerous players smoked marijuana before Oklahoma State's Fiesta Bowl win in 2012. So many, in fact, that "about 15-20 people who actually played" would have tested positive.
"(Against) teams we knew we were going to roll, a couple of guys would get high," former cornerback Calvin Mickens said, according to SI. "Some of the guys, (it) didn't matter what game it was, they were going to get high."
Pot apparently wasn't the only drug the players used. While it was the most common, SI reported that some were using cocaine, codeine syrup, prescription hydrocodone and marijuana sometimes dipped formaldehyde.
SI reported that Cowboys coach Mike Gundy is alleged to have mimicked smoking a joint to his players, and coaches joked about players working harder if they knew they would get marijuana as a reward.
"Drugs were everywhere," former linebacker Donnell Williams said.
The Oklahoma State football program also had a more lenient drug policy than other schools, according to the report. Oklahoma State allowed an athlete to test positive four times for drug use -- many schools have a three-strike policy -- before being dismissed and that if a player entered drug counseling, the strike would not count against him.
Players who tested positive went to a "Weed Circle" as part of their counseling during the 2003 season. The group met once a week and players who attended avoided punishment, former Cowboys player Thomas Wright said.
According to SI, former wide receiver Bo Bowling was charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia in 2009 after police had found more than 100 grams of marijuana, Xanax, ephedrine, the steroid stanozolol, a digital scale and more than $1,000 in his apartment.
Bowling was back on the team in 2010 after he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and community service and was ordered to undergo counseling.
"There were guys, I'd hear a trainer saying, 'Oh, your levels are going down. Oh, your levels are going down.' Yeah, right. You're covering up for them because they're a star," said Mickens, according to SI.
Les Miles, who coached at Oklahoma State before leaving for LSU, responded to an SI request for comment regarding the latest allegations.
"This is an outsider's view or perhaps from a disgruntled player who wanted playing time but could not earn it," he said. "Yes, I wanted our players to perform on the field, but they had to perform socially and academically too or they would not see the field.
"I backed the police 100 percent and did support law enforcement by asking what I could do to provide assistance."
On Thursday, ESPN.com reported some discrepancies in the background details of one former player interviewed for the series.
Former safety Fath' Carter told SI that he graduated with a degree in education, but ESPN cited registrar's documents that showed he never graduated from the school. Former teammate Tatum Bell also told ESPN that Carter lied about their time in school together and about a failing grade that both received in a class.
"Not only did he lie about me attending those classes, he's trying to degrade everybody," Bell said. "I never received a dime from anybody."
The first two parts of the SI series earlier this week outlined players allegedly being paid for performance and academic improrprieties.
The school and other former Oklahoma State players have disputed the report.
The Tulsa World reported that nine of the 12 former players who are quoted in the SI series were kicked out of school or the football program, transferred to anither school or quit the team.