Former OSU Players, Numerous Media Figures Blast Credibility Of SI’s ‘The Money’ Report

Well, Sports Illustrated was right — the five-part Oklahoma State expose entitled ‘The Dirty Game’ is currently shocking the world. SI released ‘The Money’ this morning — part one of the series, which details how at least 29 players allegedly received cash payments from coaches and boosters in their time at the school. The information from the report was obtained by extensive investigation, including “independent interviews with 64 Oklahoma State football players from 1999 to 2011, as well as current and former football staffers.”

You can read our ten takeaways from ‘The Money’ here for a quick rundown.

Immediately after the report was released, criticism came flying in from all angles. Most notably, however, was the dozen of former players (and the list is still growing) that began denouncing the report on Twitter. SBNation put together an excellent collection of their responses — here are just a few key ones:

However, it wasn’t just the players named in the report who were criticized — one of the writers for Sports Illustrated, Thayer Evans, also came under serious fire — he formerly attended Oklahoma. Leading the charge was Jason Whitlock of ESPN, a former colleague of Evans:

Whitlock went on KFOR 98.1 in Tulsa to elaborate:

But then in addition to that, having worked with Thayer Evans at Fox Sports, having followed his work for some time, I am completely and utterly flabbergasted that a legitimate news outlet would allow Thayer Evans to be involved in some type of investigative piece on college football that tears down a program, and particularly one that tears down Oklahoma State when it is no secret what a huge, enormous, gigantic Oklahoma homer Thayer Evans is.

This is just incredible. Knowing the lack of competence that’s there with Thayer Evans, knowing the level of simple-mindedness that’s there with Thayer Evans, to base any part of the story on his reporting is mind-boggling.

You can read his full comments — he continues on for quite a bit — at TulsaWorld.

After Whitlock’s public outcry, former Oklahoma State quarterback and current MLB player Josh Fields told ESPN that the reports are not credible:

And if that wasn’t enough, Tatum Bell, whom SI says in the report denied that he received illicit payments, claims SI never in fact contacted him:

Certainly, there are going to be a lot of questions about the investigation itself — it’s easy to see motivation on both sides of the report, and why the credibility of either side could be doubted. These are large groups of people both corroborating conflicting stories.

As if all that criticism and doubt wasn’t enough, Deadspin offered a different opinion. Tom Ley called the SI piece a “shamestravaganza” that was “useless muckraking” — after all, players in the report were quoted as saying that the recipients of money needed it so they wouldn’t starve. Of course, people question the validity of that criticism, too.

The craziest thing about this is that it’s just the beginning — Sports Illustrated has four more segments of the report to release, and as more people get named, we are going to be bombarded with more opinions and perspectives. It is definitely something worth paying attention to, and we’re sure you’ll get your fill of Oklahoma State coverage in the next few days.

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Former Managing Editor at College Spun. Notre Dame alumnus from Erie, PA. Diehard sports guy, obviously. Love 90's music, naps, and watching movies. I hate vegetables. Extremely sarcastic. Love reading comments on my pieces. Follow me on Twitter @TMoorehead627.