OSU students question Sports Illustrated's 2nd report

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 9/11/2013 7:45 pm Published: 9/11/2013 4:38 pm

FOX23 talked with both current and former students who were at Oklahoma State University during the time the misconduct reported by Sports Illustrated is alleged to have happened.

They all said there could be a handful of athletes who cheat, just as there are a handful of nonathletes that do, but they all said there's no way it's as widespread as the report claims.

"I'm not going to feign ignorance here. I know it does happen. I'd like to think it doesn't. But I know it does," said Kimberly Roberts, a student.

Roberts says the same thing happens at every major university, and in her fourth year at OSU, she doesn't think it's very common there and certainly not supported by the coaches.

"I think the athletes here try very hard because, I mean they're here at OSU for a reason. They wanted to come here. They wanted to get an education. So I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt here and say they are working hard," she said.

Tyler Van Arsdale graduated last year and says any time he had football players in his classes, he never noticed them being treated differently or being allowed to skip classes and still get a passing grade.

"You know, they came in late. I don't think they were treated any ... differently, really. Didn't seem out of the ordinary. They were there most times, I guess. It was very normal," he said.

Graduate student Robert Pokoo says even in his more advanced classes, he sees athletes show up.

"Honestly speaking, they attend. They attend classes," he said.

But even if football players did miss more class than other students, Pokoo doesn't see an issue.

Some students said football players spend a lot of time on the field and bring money into the university, so they deserve special considerations.

"Helping them a little, pushing them up to account for a lot of time they spend practicing and playing games. I don't see anything wrong with that at all," said Pokoo.

He even thinks there are other ways to level the playing field for athletes.

But he doesn't think they should have homework done for them or tests taken for them them, nor does he think they should be allowed to skip every class.

And he doesn't think those things are actually happening at OSU.

Van Arsdale says he never noticed football players missing more class than normal, and as a recent graduate, he thinks the university does a good job of keeping its priorities straight when it comes to student athletes.

"I'm sure they bring in money. But you're also a student. That's what you're here for," he said.

Roberts thinks the vast majority of players also realize they're there for school, not just football.

"I appreciate that they're entertaining the masses. But overall, they're just still students, and I don't think they need to be treated differently," she said.

Either way, Pokoo thinks Sports Illustrated's report is overblown.

"Allegations; every allegation must be followed by a proof. Those who are alleging must come up with the proof," he said.

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