Drug use and "even some drug dealing" went "largely unexamined, unchecked and untreated" at Oklahoma State from 2001 through last season, according to Sports Illustrated's continued investigation into the university's fast-rising football program.
"Drugs were everywhere," former linebacker Donnell Williams said.
The third installment in the magazine's five-part series, "The Dirty Game," spoke with three former players who admitted to selling marijuana in 2001, 2004 and 2006. Another seven players were accused of dealing drugs from 2001-12, a period spanning the tenures of former coach Les Miles and current coach Mike Gundy.
One player on the Cowboys' 2001 team told SI he made $100 a week selling marijuana. A player on the 2006 team spoke of bringing "pounds" of the drug from out of state and selling to teammates and OSU students.
REPORT 2: : Serious academic misconduct was common at OSU
In total, 30 members of the football team between 2000 and 2011 admitted to using drugs while with the program. These players identified another 20 ex-teammates, "including some of the program's biggest names," the SI report said.
Former cornerback Calvin Mickens said it was not uncommon for players to use marijuana before games. "[Against] teams we knew we were going to roll, a couple of guys would get high," Mickens told SI. "Some of the guys [it] didn't matter what game it was, they were going to get high."
While marijuana was the drug of choice, players also spoke of using cocaine and hydrocodone pills and drinking codeine syrup. Those who tested positive for marijuana would enter into the university's counseling program, one that came with an "extraordinary perk," per SI: Those players who were in the program could continue to use the drug without penalty.
A former OSU assistant coach told SI, "There's an issue with drugs at OSU, no doubt. We had all kinds of issues."
The allegations of widespread drug use follow on the heels of two previous installments in the SI series. The first alleged the use of cash payments on a pay-for-play basis, with players receiving money from boosters and assistant coaches and through "sham" jobs. The second part called into question OSU's commitment to academics, with several former players telling SI the university altered grades and had tutors complete coursework for some student-athletes.
A fourth and fifth installment will be launched on all of SI's platforms before Sept. 17. According to a preview released Monday, the fourth part in the series will tackle a hostess program that violated NCAA recruiting rules. The fifth chapter in the series, "The Fallout," will chronicle how several OSU football players were "cast aside" when they were deemed "no longer useful to the football program."
Several former OSU players have spoken out against the SI story, questioning the allegations made in each of the report's first two installments.
"I've read the first story that came out and literally I laughed throughout the entire thing," former quarterback Brandon Weeden said, via The Plain Dealer. The former players they interviewed "were not very good sources to question because they are kids that got kicked off the team for drugs or for whatever it might be," Weeden said.
Former quarterback Aso Pogi, who was quoted in the story, said his remarks were taken out of context. Pogi also told the Tulsa World the "biggest thing about the interview was I didn't know it was an interview."
"But it's funny what was printed can be twisted and that's what I meant that it was taken out of context," Pogi said. "If it was being recorded, which I have no idea if it was or not, you can clearly hear me say, 'oh my goodness, this was going on? Man, whoa.' Because I never saw it. You can completely hear my statements of shock. And everything that was said, it was said by him. 'We've got reliable sources.' And he named off some people that are in prison now and said 'we went in spoke to them in prison.' And I'm just like 'whoa, he is in prison?' You can hear me say 'wow, he's in prison?' He's just going off on different things that were alleged about the program. And I was kind of taking it in. But once he asked me, I was very definitive that I never saw anything like that."
Pogi's point is echoed by former running back Seymore Shaw, who was quoted several times during the first two chapters in SI's series. In a statement released to the Tulsa World, Shaw said he met with SI reporters "with the presumption that we would be talking about something completely different. I became uncomfortable with where the conversation was going and later retracted all statements."
Said Shaw: "These are not my true feelings of the university or the football program, but in my opinion, those of a reporter so desperately looking for anything to support his agenda. I am deeply saddened that my close friends and people I consider to be like family were targeted in this article. I am hoping to rebuild trust and friendships with those who were truly hurt."