The big news in college sports this week has been the Sports Illustrated report The Dirty Game, an article that alleges serious improprieties by the Oklahoma State football program under head coach Les Miles.
The five-part series began on Tuesday and took 10 months for Sports Illustrated reporters to put together based on interviews of 64 former players and OSU staff members.
If the stories outlined in The Dirty Game are true, the report paints a nasty picture of a program fueled by money, corruption and the desire to win football games at any cost. If true, it’s an example of big-time college football at its worst and just another warning sign of what happens when the pressure to succeed in big money college sports gets to be too much.
But that’s just the thing. How truthful is the story? This isn’t to say that Sports Illustrated writers Thayer Evans and George Dohrmann (a Pulitzer Prize winner) altered their information because they have an axe to grind with Oklahoma State.
Judging from the blogosphere and Twitter, there seem to be plenty of folks out there in the sports world that see the article as a sensationalist muckraking. But it’s hard to think that Sports Illustrated, with a history of exemplary sports journalism, would go to the trouble of spending 10 months on a story that was a complete fabrication.
The big question then is about the sources interviewed for the article. Are they telling their stories because they want the truth to come out, or are they disgruntled former players and coaches who feel wronged by the Cowboys and want to embarrass the OSU football program.
It should be interesting to see what the fallout from the story will be (to its credit, Oklahoma State has publicly stated that it will investigate the allegations). The last installment of the five-part series won’t appear online until Sept. 17 so we’ve got plenty of time to watch it unfold.