Dohrmann and Evans seem to take these former Cowboys at face value. At the very least, they chose not to give any details before the final section that might make the interviewees less believable.
These journalistic practices are troubling, but they’re not damning. Because no matter what reasons an individual player might have for bashing his former school, there’s too much consistency between all of the interviews for these allegations to be made out of nothing.
SI has published a convincing article. Whatever OSU’s crimes may or may not have been, the school knows it can’t write off SI’s article as nonsense, so now an investigation must take place.
While SI’s report may have uncovered real problems in the OSU football program, it failed to address a much larger question: Is OSU alone in these practices?
In all likelihood: no.
If one school is doing stuff like this, chances are many other Division I schools are as well. They either provided an example for former OSU coach Les Miles to follow, or they followed his example.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was only cleared a couple weeks ago from allegations of taking payments for autograph sessions. The SI article itself mentions a late-90s sex scandal at the University of Colorado. And academic and drug issues have been part of college for decades.
Maybe the solution isn’t to make OSU the poster boy for irresponsible coaching, as the SI article in part tried to do. Maybe instead the NCAA should reform its policies.
A more lenient policy on payments would make it less necessary for players to go to boosters for under-the-table cash. A more lenient drug policy — especially when it comes to recreational marijuana use, which is rampant on many college campuses and even legal in some states — would help prevent double-standards like the one at OSU.