Thursday, September 18, 2014

Oklahoma State’s trail of corruption

Charles Caleb Colton, an 18th century English cleric, once said, “Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it’s set a rolling, it must increase.” In the case of the Oklahoma State (OSU) football program, this quote certainly rang true.

In 2000, Les Miles accepted the job of head coach of the OSU football team. The program became a well-oiled machine, upgraing in nearly every way possible. As a result, OSU improved to an 8-5 record in Miles’ second season as head coach. Just two years ago, the team finished 12-1, capturing the Big 12 conference title. Yet, no secrets remain hidden forever, and in recent weeks, the dishonesty within the OSU football program has come to light.

An eye-opening Sports Illustrated (SI) story first revealed the corrupt happenings. In the article, multiple reports of various NCAA violations — including taking money from boosters, academic cheating, drugs and sex — surfaced from the mouths of players themselves.

Money was distributed impermissibly. Many of the best players said they received cash-filled envelopes directly from boosters. Players also said they earned money through sham jobs.

Academic fraud was a problem too. Current Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant reportedly had much of his homework done by tutors, even during his academic All-American year, simply because he was too lazy to do the homework himself. Several other players never attended certain classes they were enrolled in, yet were still given As as final grades.

According to the SI article, drug use was a widespread issue as well. In the past eight years, 31 players reportedly used marijuana while they were on the OSU team. Several players even got high before games. Three players also confessed to selling marijuana.

In order to entice new recruits, some members of a volunteer recruiting program entitled “Orange Pride” had intercourse with the potential players according to the SI article.

The idea was to make the prospective athletes believe that these would be regular occurrences if they chose to come
to OSU.
These events are simply wrong. Players, coaches, teachers and everyone else involved should have had better judgment in knowing that they were part of something that not only violated NCAA regulations, but was also morally and ethically wrong.

What took place at OSU did not benefit the players, or anyone else involved, in any way.

Recently, both the Ohio State football program and the University of Miami football program had similar scandals brought to light. Ohio State and Miami both faced significant penalties. Miami had several players suspended during their 2011 season, while Ohio State received a one-year bowl ban, as well as other penalties. Considering the severity of OSU’s actions, their punishment will likely be significantly worse.

Corruption is indeed like a ball of snow. Yes, Miles began with the intent of creating a winning football team. While he did build a team that had multiple winning seasons and a conference title, the desire to win became more important than doing what was right.

As these events have come to light, OSU’s accomplishments have lost merit. The achievements gained through dishonesty and corruption cannot be regarded as highly as those which are earned honestly and legitimately, as is the case in every facet of life. No lies, dishonesty doings, or corruption will remain hidden forever. Miles and the OSU football may learn that the hard way.

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