By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
BEREA: The Browns hope quarterback Brandon Weeden attacks the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday with the type of ferocity he displayed Wednesday while ripping Sports Illustrated’s in-depth report about his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, and one of the magazine’s writers.
The report alleges that from 2001-11, some Oklahoma State players were paid for their performances on the field as part of a bonus system orchestrated by assistant coaches and boosters, engaged in academic misconduct by having others do their coursework and were allowed to use recreational drugs without penalties. According to Sports Illustrated, the series written by George Dohrmann and Thayer Evans is a result of a 10-month investigation that included independent interviews with 64 Oklahoma State football players from 1999 to 2011.
Weeden was at Oklahoma State from 2007-11 before the Browns drafted him 22nd overall last year. He was not named in either of the first two parts of the series, both of which have been published online, and he said he never took any money at Oklahoma State.
“I’ve read the first story that came out and literally I laughed throughout the entire thing,” Weeden said. “It’s comical for a lot of reasons, and I won’t go through the whole deal, but obviously it’s dealing more with before I got there. First of all, clean slate, I didn’t take any money or do anything like that. That wasn’t the issue.
“It all happened before I got there. But the guys that they did question were not very good sources to question because they are kids that got kicked off the team for drugs or for whatever it might be. They were dismissed and so these are guys that aren’t real credible.”
Weeden verbally blasted Evans and questioned his credibility.
“The guy who wrote the article, we had a little run-in at Texas,” Weeden said. “He’s an OU [University of Oklahoma] guy. He’s always had it out for Oklahoma State, so he comes up to me after we beat Texas and he said, ‘When’s it going to happen? When’s Okie State going to pull it’s Okie choke like they always do?’ I laughed and said, ‘Who is this clown to our SID [sports information department] guys.’
“Long story short, the guy has always had it out for Oklahoma State. He’s got a track record. You can go look it up. I’m not going to say his name. You can go look and see what he’s done. But he’s had it out for us, so it’s comical. The truth will come out. I’m surprised. Here’s what I’m surprised about is that a credible institution like Sports Illustrated would do 10 months of investigation, and they have no credible facts to go along with the story.”
Weeden also defended Mike Gundy, who has been Oklahoma State’s football coach since 2005. Louisiana State University coach Les Miles, an Elyria native, coached Oklahoma State from 2001-04.
“Coach Gundy does an unbelievable job of running a clean program, and he takes a lot of pride in that,” Weeden said. “[Prominent Oklahoma State booster T. Boone] Pickens is all about keeping everything clean and playing by the rules and doing the right thing. In my five years there, I saw nothing but that. It was a very clean-run organization, no wrongdoings of anything that I ever saw and that goes back to when I was a freshman, 23 years old.
“I’m not naive enough to think that stuff doesn’t go on at other universities, but I have to say that I never saw anything go on, and it’s comical. It really is, and I can’t wait to read the other four [parts of the series]. I really can’t. I’m not going to say the guy’s name, but he knows who he is, and he knows his agenda. He’s got a wrong one.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.