MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The initial installment of a five-part Sports Illustrated investigative series says eight former Oklahoma State players admit to receiving cash while at the school while 30 players implicated teammates for taking money
In the middle of many of the allegations is Joe DeForest, who today is West Virginia's associate head coach, but was an assistant coach with the Cowboys from 2001-11.
The story, published Tuesday morning on the Sports Illustrated website, is the product of 10 months of research and interviewing. Sixty-four former players, as well as current and former members of the staff, were interviewed. The first story cites former players who say DeForest was a central figure in a program where players were paid for making certain plays in games.
DeForest is also expected to be mentioned in the fourth part to be released Friday. It is to detail the "Orange Pride" hostess program that helped the Cowboys with on-campus recruiting. Sports Illustrated revealed in a press release Monday that "a small subset of the group had sex with recruits, a violation of NCAA rules."
WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck released a statement Saturday in which he revealed the school had an announced an independent inquiry and contacted the NCAA. WVU third-year Coach Dana Holgorsen, who worked at Oklahoma State with DeForest in 2010, has deferred his comments to Luck's statement.
Former Cowboys players said DeForest shared the rates with the players for their performance and that DeForest would go around after the game and tell players what their statistics earned.
The story said between 15 and 20 players were paid in a season and most could receive between $2,000 and $10,000 annually, though some star players made as at least $25,000. Brad Girtman, a former defensive tackle, told Sports Illustrated a quarterback hurry was worth $50, a tackle between $75 and $100 and a sack between $200 and $250.
Former linebacker/defensive end Rodrick Johnson told Sports Illustrated that it was common knowledge DeForest set rewards of between $100 and $500 for a big play on special teams. Former cornerback/wide receiver Chris Wright said he saw DeForest hand stacks of bills to certain players.
Girtman and Johnson admitted taking money as a player, while Wright said he did not.
DeForest did not speak to reporters after Saturday's loss to No. 14 Oklahoma, the same day news of the pending investigative project broke. He has denied the allegations to WVU and now to Sports Illustrated.