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Is Oklahoma State's Alleged Drug Problem the Worst Part of the SI Report so Far?

Jan 1, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy celebrates a victory with defensive end Cooper Bassett (80) against the Purdue Boilermakers at the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys beat the Boilermakers 58-14. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterSeptember 12, 2013

Part three of Sports Illustrated's series on Oklahoma State's football program, "The Drugs," was published on Thursday. 

According to the article, "As the Cowboys have risen from Big 12 cellar-dweller to one of the nation's elite teams, widespread marijuana use by players and even some drug dealing has gone largely unexamined, unchecked and untreated."

Donnell Williams, a former Oklahoma State linebacker, was quoted in the article as saying, "Drugs were everywhere."

Much of SI's third installment focuses on the use and distribution of marijuana. In all, 30 players who played football for OSU between 2000 and 2011 told SI they smoked pot while on the team. A so-called "weed circle" reportedly allowed players to seek counseling for pot while continuing to smoke it without penalty. 

But other, harder drugs were reportedly used by players as well, including cocaine and painkillers. 

Larry Brown, a defensive tackle in 2005 and '06, says that the first time he saw teammates do cocaine was in a dorm during his freshman year. "It happened a lot of times," Brown says of his teammates' cocaine use. Cruz and Woods also say they were aware of teammates who used cocaine frequently.

In addition, several players say they and other team members drank codeine syrup and passed around hydrocodone pills that had been prescribed by team doctors to combat pain, and they sometimes dipped marijuana in formaldehyde before smoking it.

What really sticks out is the fact that Oklahoma State put an assistant strength and conditioning coach, Joel Tudman, in charge of the the drug counseling program in 2007 without formal training in the subject matter. 

(That, and an unidentified player reportedly drank bleach in an attempt to purge THC from his system because of an upcoming drug test.)

Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder defended his decision to expand Tudman's responsibilities. "I believe in Joel and what he's been able to do with a lot of these young men," Holder told SI. "I hear a lot of positive comments about him." 

So, is part three the most revealing of the installments to date? (Two more segments, "The Sex" and "The Fallout" will be released over the next two days.)

Let's put it this way: Of the 30 players mentioned by name to have used marijuana by SI—players' names were not connected to harder drugs—27 did not finish their careers with the Cowboys. 

The reasons for the departures vary, and both the Tulsa World and Oklahoman examine, in varying degrees of length, some of those reasons. 

That doesn't mean there was or wasn't a drug problem at Oklahoma State, or that the school did or didn't look the other way on the issue. But, at least according to the names given by SI, there was a strong correlation between those who used drugs and those who didn't finish out their eligibility with the school. 

Those numbers, in fact, would tend to reflect favorably on Oklahoma State. If anything, "The Drugs" reflects the least amount of damage against OSU thus far. 

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