Believe it or not, it's actually possible for this SI expose of Oklahoma State to have gone worse. I'm not quite sure how, but I don't doubt it is possible. When there is rampant twitter speculation the lead writer of the story has been canned and you feel the need to deny it because everyone believes the rumor could be true... well, that's a sign things are not going your way.
It is into this atmosphere of general derision that SI dropped Part IV: SEX! SEX! SEX! of its
Les Miles Oklahoma State expose. It is everything I had hoped it would be and more. Let's just say that I hope the SI legal department has brushed up on its New York Times v. Sullivan.
When the recruit arrived in Stillwater he received an enthusiastic greeting from two members of Orange Pride, a group made up of female undergrads that is described on the university website as an "organization that donates their time and efforts to assist with Recruiting for Oklahoma State and the Football Program." The women explained that they would be taking him to dinner, the recruit recalls, but first they had a stop to make. A short time later he was having sex with both of them. "Rock 'n' rolling, I had the best of the best -- the aces," says the recruit, who spoke to SI on the record but is not being named to protect the identities of the two women.
Yeah, I bet you want to protect the identity of the two future Plaintiffs who want to sue your pants off. Rule of thumb: if a publication doesn't trust it's reporting enough to even reveal the name of who was talking for fear of getting their pants sued off, it's usually a good idea to just ignore everything in the quote. This is the equivalent of me telling you that I totally had sex with Christina Hendricks that one time.*
*She's on my List of Five with Posette. I have a thing for redheads. So sue me.
Then Thayer Evans really piles on the dirt:
Hostess programs have been part of college football since the 1960s. Friendly, often attractive students greet recruits, usher them and their parents around campus and promote the virtues of the school. There have long been suspicions about sexual interactions. In 2004 public scandals at Colorado and other schools revealed that sex had been arranged for visiting prospects. Although no formal campus organization was implicated in those cases, several colleges shuttered their hostess programs or rechristened them with less suggestive names. That year the NCAA passed legislation that, in part, prohibited "the use of alcohol, drugs, sex and gambling in recruiting."
Oklahoma State not only kept Orange Pride intact, but by 2004, multiple sources told SI, the group also became a key contributor to the program's rise. Membership in the organization more than tripled; there was a greater emphasis on attracting prettier and more outgoing women; and more than a dozen Cowboys who played from 2001 to '11 told SI that a small number of Orange Pride members had sexual relations with them or with other prospects during recruiting visits. According to the former hostesses who spoke to SI, the vast majority did not have sex with recruits. But for those who did, it proved to be an effective inducement.
"There's no other way a female can convince you to come play football at a school besides [sex]," says Artrell Woods, a Cowboys wide receiver from 2006 to '08, who says he did not have sex with an Orange Pride member on his recruiting visit but was aware of others who did.
Let's unpack what's going on here, because it's sort of awesome.
First, Evans puts the image in your head of the sex scandal at Colorado in 2004 that you totally forgot about, but I'm sure it was totally awful and salacious. Then he states that "several" but totally unnamed and uncounted number of schools shuttered their hostess programs. That might have been work to find out, and actually informative to the reader. "Several" could mean three, all at Sun Belt schools. I honestly have no idea. Neither do you, but that's the point. He's pushing your buttons already. Then comes the boom:
Oklahoma State NOT ONLY kept their program but it was "key contributor" of its rise, which we will totally prove, but not really. See? They recruited MORE GIRLS who were MORE PRETTY and MORE OUTGOING. And they totally had sex. Well, not all of them. Just a few. And not with anyone we talked to. In fact, no one we talked to had sex, but they totally knew this guy who absolutely had sex with that girl. Totally. You can take that to the bank. High five, bro!
Then Evans moves to that cherry on top, perhaps the most sexist thing in an article alleging that OSU was pimping girls out to have sex with football players to come to play in Stillwater: his star witness tells all of us the only thing girls have to offer is sex. I mean, Artell Woods didn't actually have sex with anyone, but he came to Stillwater anyway. Maybe because he knew other people who did. He doesn't know their names or anything, but it so totally happened and we should all believe him. Really, what use is a girl other than to provide sexual services?
That sound you hear is me throwing up in my mouth. Now, if you'll note, there's no actual allegation yet, just the collection of hearsay near the vague recollection there was a sex scandal somewhere else, but we're going to get to the good stuff, right? Well, not really.
None of the more than 30 former players or the 14 former Orange Pride members who spoke to SI about the group had direct knowledge of a coach or athletic department staff member instructing a hostess to have sex with a recruit. But a former Orange Pride adviser and two former members of the football staff say that coaches sometimes decided which hostesses to pair with which recruits.
There's your story, ladies and gentlemen.
We talked to 44 people and not one of them said the staff instructed anyone to have sex with anybody. But but but... the coaches "sometimes" decided which hostess would host which recruit. That proves, um, something, I think.
How does this tie to Miles? Glad you asked. At one point, a recruit does not have sex and his player host might have been scolded by his special teams coach, Joe DeForest. This was in 2001 when Miles was coach. Again, the key here is that the recruit did not have sex with anyone.
Orange Pride's growing prominence coincided with the Cowboys' resurgence. By 2002, when the football program began putting pictures of Orange Pride members in its media guide, the group had increased to 48. That year Rivals.com ranked Oklahoma State's recruiting class (including the sought-after Thomas Wright) No. 25 in the nation. The following season, when Orange Pride expanded to 54, the Cowboys' class ranked 15th. (School officials say that this season Orange Pride consists of about 40 members.) To be sure, Orange Pride wasn't solely responsible for that success. Miles was a deft pitchman and assembled a competent staff.
Oklahoma State got better, and the only way they could've done that is by providing sex. I mean, come on. It's Okie State! They wear silly uniforms. They've never been good at anything. And it's not like Miles has ever shown he's a good coach or anything. It totally had to be the sex!
Evans provides no causal link or anything, but he does put the sentences right by each other, so that's enough. Orange Pride got bigger. OSU won some games. Boom. Just like that. Makes you wonder how Arizona State hasn't won the national title.
More on Miles:
Another former football staff member under Miles adds, "One of Les's biggest things, he wanted more personality. I remember our first few recruiting weekends [in 2001], the girls just kind of stood in the corner. They weren't real -personable. ... Was part of it to have pretty girls too? Let's get real."
BURN HIM! He wanted to get to know the people who were going to play a part in recruiting a player? Clearly, some shenanigans are going on! And he wanted pretty girls who were personable? My God, he has cracked the code on marketing! This shall not stand!
"What knowledge would a female student have about campus, about the academics and the football program that a male student wouldn't have?" asks Melanie Page, a psychology professor at Oklahoma State since 1998. "You don't need to have a beautiful woman in that role."
Coaches across the country would disagree, and Oklahoma State is not the only school to have its hostess program come under scrutiny in recent years. In December 2008, The New York Times reported that hostesses at LSU sat on the laps of recruits. (The Tigers' coach then, as now, is Les Miles.) In 2011 the NCAA concluded that Tennessee violated rules when it paid for three members of its hostess program -- also called Orange Pride -- to travel to a high school game in South Carolina that featured players Tennessee was recruiting. Tennessee hostesses also contacted recruits through Facebook and other social networking sites. (In neither of those cases were the LSU or Tennessee hostesses alleged to have had sex with recruits.)
And now we get to the heart of it. Why do we have women be the hostesses and not guys? Gee, I don't know. How dare OSU hire pretty, outgoing girls to sell a product? I mean, no one in the history of the world has ever done that except every single time you turn on the television. You realize our economy would halt to a stop if we didn't allow people to use pretty girls to sell things? I, for one, am totally outraged.
Then comes the boom. Miles is a serial offender. I mean, a girl once sat in somebody's lap when he was at LSU. I mean, no one alleged that there was sex, much less proved that there was, but we'll just let that non-allegation sit there and let you draw your own conclusion.
We've seen Inception, guys. We know how this works.
There's more, but I highly recommend you don't click the link and don't read it. I do recommend waiting for the eventual lawsuit and reading the complaint. SI has no specific allegation, they just overheard in the cafeteria that this guy and that girl totally did it.
I was worried this was going to be an exercise in "slut shaming", by being outraged that girls dare to enjoy sex. It turns out there is only one slut in this story, and it ain't the girls.