Last September, Sports Illustrated released a five-part series of articles titled "The Dirty Game". After the wild success of the expose, I became intrigued with how the lives of those involved might be panning out. I was fortunate enough to land interviews with a few.
Ever since the article dropped, the program has been in shambles.
The hostess program at Oklahoma State, Orange Pride, has developed quite the reputation since the expose.
"It has actually boosted recruit visits by over 300%", says a sophomore OP member, "Recruits come here expecting crazy things, but the school has recently set restrictions. Now we actually have to sell things like campus life, facilities, uniforms, and tradition".
Although visits have gone up, commitments are at a record low. Notorious for having the top ranking class from 2001-2012, the Pokes have taken a rapid drop in national rankings.
I spoke with a senior coordinator for OP. She told me, "The coaches are definitely panicking. We used to be able to get a kid to commit just by making them think that once they got here, they'd have a chance with us. This 'academic enhancement' stuff is really hard to sell".
Ever since the release of "The Dirty Game", the Pokes have been struggling to win.
"It's difficult to rebuild after such a detrimental blow to the program" said the ball boy, "We must find ways -- other than sex, drugs, and cash -- to bring this program back to national prominence".
I spoke with an unnamed locker room technician who told me, "The morale around here is at an all time low. We have walk on players getting pissed off that we are no longer doling out cash for making plays on scout team. SI has really put us in a bad situation".
"When I was a freshman, I once caught a first down pass in a two-minute drill at practice and some guy came up and handed me $20" said a junior walk-on, "Now I just get a lousy pat on the back from a graduate assistant".
I spoke with a freshman defensive player, who is very disappointed that his Oklahoma State experience isn't going as advertised. "When the SI article dropped, I knew that Oklahoma state was the place for me", he said, "I had offers from Baylor, Texas Tech, and Kansas State, but their cash flow is weak. When I read 'The Dirty Game', I was shocked that I could make $800 to lose to a sub-par team. Now, they keep boostin' this 'free education' as my payment. Buncha BS if you ask me".
Hurt by this bait and switch, he told me that he has considered transferring to OU, a place where he's guaranteed to make money under the table.
"I would love to keep paying our bench warmers", said the wealthy alumnus, "The NCAA is breathing down our necks and I can't get away with anything. Back in the day, I would pay guys just for suiting up. Playmaking wasn't necessary. I just enjoyed making it rain in the locker room after routing Montana State".
I asked him if he's planning any legal donations to the program.
"They're no longer accepting contributions to football. Of course I love my school, but who wants to see their money helping kids get an education? I wanna beat Montana State", he passionately shouted.
The road to recovery for Oklahoma State is going to be tough.
You win SI, you win.