A current University of Texas assistant football coach is one of two former Oklahoma State coaches alleged to have paid players there about a decade ago in an investigative series by Sports Illustrated about a history of improprieties in the Cowboys’ program.
Two former OSU players told the magazine that Larry Porter — who’s in his first season as Texas’ running backs coach — gave them cash while he held a similar position with the Cowboys from 2002 to 2004.
The first story of the five-part series entitled “The Dirty Game” was released Tuesday on the magazine’s website.
Porter, who was hired away from Arizona State in January, was mentioned by name in one paragraph of the series’ introductory story when the former players — running back Seymore Shaw and safety Fath’ Carter, alleged that he gave them periodic cash payments.
Shaw said Porter gave him $100 “four or five times” and told him to use the money for food, Sports Illustrated reported. Carter said Porter gave him “a couple of hundred bucks” before fall camp in 2003 to defray the costs of letting two incoming freshmen live with him until they were permitted by NCAA rules to begin receiving room and board benefits, according to the magazine.
Porter, in a statement given to Sports Illustrated for the story, said: “I’ve been made aware of the accusations, and I’m disappointed because they are all absolutely not true. None of that happened.”
UT officials were notified Sept. 4 by Sports Illustrated about the accusations against Porter, Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds said Tuesday.
“After questioning him on Thursday (Sept. 5) concerning those allegations, we do not have any issues with him at this time,” Dodds said in a statement.
Those allegations paled in comparison with others by SI: that boosters and assistant coaches handed out tens of thousands of dollars to players for at least a decade as the Cowboys’ program grew into a national power under coaches Les Miles and Mike Gundy.
The article said some players received $2,000 to $10,000 annually, with a few stars receiving $25,000 or more. SI said that eight players told the magazine they received cash and that 29 others were named by teammates as taking money from 2001 until at least 2011.
Among the magazine’s allegations of misconduct and potential NCAA violations are:
- That another assistant coach, Joe DeForest, paid cash bonuses to players of up to $500 for performance.
- That boosters and assistant coaches funneled money to players and provided sham jobs for which players were paid.
- That tutors and school personnel completed schoolwork for players, and that professors gave passing grades for little to no work.
- That the program’s drug policy was selectively enforced, allowing some players to go unpunished for repeated positive tests.
- That some members of a hostess program used by the football coaching staff had sex with OSU recruits.
NCAA rules bar boosters from providing cash or other benefits based on athletic performance.
DeForest now is an assistant coach at West Virginia, which has begun an internal review.
Miles, now the head coach at LSU, has said he didn’t know of any improprieties while he was OSU’s coach.
“I can tell you this: We have always done things right,” Miles said last weekend.
Energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, the biggest booster of his alma mater, said he was disappointed that the magazine’s story focused on Oklahoma State “a decade ago.”
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday that the allegations against her alma mater were “disturbing and disappointing” and that she is confident the school’s administration will investigate the charges thoroughly. Oklahoma State Athletic Director Mike Holder said the school has notified the NCAA “and they’re going to assign an investigator.”
Additional material from The Associated Press.
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story said that Larry Porter had been hired away from Oklahoma State in January. Porter was coaching at Arizona State when he was hired by Texas.