NORMAN, Okla. -- West Virginia found itself in some trouble hours before even kicking off Saturday against No. 16 Oklahoma.
A pending investigative project in Sports Illustrated will reportedly accuse Mountaineers associate head coach/special teams coordinator Joe DeForest of paying players for making certain plays while he was an assistant at Oklahoma State.
The alleged payments occurred as recently as the 2011 season. DeForest, who was an assistant for the Cowboys from 2001-11, denied the allegation to The Oklahoman.
WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck released a statement about 90 minutes before the Mountaineers' kickoff against the Sooners:
"West Virginia University is aware of an upcoming investigative reporting series in Sports Illustrated which-while focused on another institution-includes allegations against one of our current assistant football coaches regarding his time of employment at his previous Institution," Luck said. "Upon learning of the pending investigative report, WVU launched an internal review to ensure the coach's full compliance to NCAA rules while at West Virginia. The NCAA has also been contacted. While our assistant football coach has denied the allegations, it is the right thing to do to look into the matter and review practices here."
The Sports Illustrated story will reportedly allege Oklahoma State coaches and boosters both paid players for jobs they didn't do, paid players more than a job should have paid and paid players for performance. DeForest is to be accused of operating a "bonus program," according to The Oklahoman, in which he paid players for making specific plays.
DeForest is the only coach named in The Oklahoman's report, but Sports Illustrated is expected to implicate others of additional acts in its piece.
"Oklahoma State University is deeply troubled by these claims," Cowboys President Burns Hargis said in a university press release. "We will investigate the accuracy of the allegations and take all appropriate action. We do not condone or tolerate improper conduct in our athletic programs. OSU requires everyone affiliated with the university to follow the rules and adhere to the highest ethical standards."
DeForest coached the 2010 season at Oklahoma State with WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen, who was the team's offensive coordinator that season before being hired first as the Mountaineers offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting in December of that season.
Holgorsen then hired DeForest in January 2012 to succeed Jeff Casteel, who accepted the defensive coordinator's position at Arizona. DeForest was the team's defensive coordinator in 2012, but was demoted to his current position following the season.
The majority of the issues in the Sports Illustrated story will reportedly focus on the 2001-07 seasons and include academic misdeeds, drug use, a faulty drug monitoring policy and recruiting hosts providing sex to prospective student-athletes.
"We are shocked by the allegations raised about our football program," Oklahoma State Athletic Director Mike Holder said in the press release. "We take the allegations seriously. Whether they have merit or not, we don't know. But we will find out.
"Our athletic department understands the high expectations OSU president Burns Hargis and the OSU board of regents have set for us. Our coaches and staff understand we will not tolerate any violations that compromise our pursuit of excellence, the highest of ethical standards, and full compliance with NCAA rules and regulations.
"We are committed to playing by the rules on and off the field. We strive to be a source of pride for our fans, our university and the Big 12 Conference."