NORMAN, Okla — A Sports Illustrated investigative series reportedly will reveal claims current West Virginia assistant Joe DeForest ran an incentive payment program for players at Oklahoma State as recently as 2011.
DeForest has denied the allegations, which Sports Illustrated outlined to OSU administrators just days before the series is scheduled to begin.
WVU athletics director Oliver Luck issued a statement before Saturday’s game at Oklahoma:
“West Virginia University is aware of an upcoming investigative reporting series in Sports Illustrated which—while focused on another institution—includes allegations against one of our current assistant football coaches regarding his time of employment at his previous Institution.
“Upon learning of the pending investigative report, WVU launched an internal review to ensure the coach’s full compliance to NCAA rules while at West Virginia. The NCAA has also been contacted. While our assistant football coach has denied the allegations, it is the right thing to do to look into the matter and review practices here. Beyond this statement, WVU will have no further comment while the review is taking place.”
DeForest is overseeing WVU’s special teams this season after spending last year as the Mountaineers’ defensive coordinator.
The Oklahoman cited a source close to the situation as saying no current Cowboys players or coaches are facing NCAA scrutiny, but DeForest could be required to answer the allegations, considering they occurred within the NCAA’s four-year statute of limitations.
“Oklahoma State University is deeply troubled by these claims,” Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis said in a school-issued release. “We will investigate the accuracy of the allegations and take all appropriate action. We do not condone or tolerate improper conduct in our athletic programs. OSU requires everyone affiliated with the university to follow the rules and adhere to the highest ethical standards.”
Among the other improprieties alleged by Sports Illustrated, OSU failed to enforce its drug-violation policy, allowed tutors to do players’ classwork and overpaid players for jobs.