Oklahoma State football investigated

Updated: July 14, 2014, 3:39 PM ET
By Brett McMurphy | ESPN.com

Oklahoma State's football program is under NCAA investigation, a university spokesman told ESPN.

The investigation stems from a five-part series by Sports Illustrated in September that alleged improprieties in the program. After the report, Oklahoma State appointed Charles E. Smrt, a former NCAA official, to conduct an internal investigation. That investigation is nearing an end.

"The inquiry continues and it is hoped that it will conclude within the next few months," a university spokesman told ESPN. "The university anticipates releasing a report after the NCAA concludes its process. Since it is an ongoing inquiry conducted in cooperation with the NCAA, the university is unable to comment further at this time."

Sports Illustrated's series last September alleged several potential NCAA violations, but did not directly implicate any current coaches or players.

ESPN also reported in September, through Oklahoma State university documents, inaccuracies with SI's report.

Former Cowboys safety Fath' Carter, who was quoted extensively in the SI series, told SI he graduated from the school and attended classes in 2004 with running back Tatum Bell in which the professor gave them failing grades because their eligibility had expired. George Dohrmann, one of two SI reporters who wrote the stories, also said in a radio interview Carter had two degrees from Oklahoma State.

However, university documents obtained by ESPN indicate Carter never actually graduated from OSU.

Another discrepancy in the series was from running back Dexter Pratt, who told SI that in his first semester, in 2009, every course he took was online. According to university records, Pratt took three online courses and two actual classes.

Former OSU coach Les Miles and several other former Cowboys players have denied several of the allegations.

After the SI report, Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis announced the hiring of Smrt to conduct the internal investigation.

"We have a responsibility to confront these disturbing reports head on and with complete transparency," Hargis said in September.

Last week, a lawsuit was filed against Sports Illustrated, the Tulsa World reported. John Talley, an Oklahoma Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative, filed a lawsuit against Sports Illustrated. Talley was portrayed in the series as an "overzealous booster, who made systematic improper financial contributions to OSU's football players," Talley alleges in the lawsuit.

Talley claims the allegations published last September "were false, lacked factual basis and were printed and published with actual malice."

OSU suspended Talley from outreach activities involving the university's student-athletes after the stories were published, the lawsuit states.

Brett McMurphy | email

College football reporter

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