UNC coach Larry Fedora calls SI investigation into Oklahoma State 'shocking'

acarter@newsobserver.comSeptember 11, 2013 

— North Carolina coach Larry Fedora, who was an assistant at Oklahoma State from 2005 through 2007, said Wednesday that he was shocked by the Sports Illustrated investigation that has alleged rampant rule-breaking within the Oklahoma State football program.

“It was shocking to me,” Fedora said of SI’s report, which is being released in five parts. “But I also understand it’s accusations and allegations. That’s what they are. They’re allegations. So whether or not there’s any truth to them or not, I don’t know.”

Fedora time as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator coincides with part of the time period detailed in SI’s report. The first part of the magazine’s investigation, published online Tuesday, alleges that some players received $2,000 to $10,000 annually, and that smaller payments, based on performance, were common.

The magazine alleges that some players received $25,000 or more during their time at Oklahoma State, and that assistant coaches and boosters provided players with no-show, bogus jobs that allowed the players to be paid for little or no work.

The second part of the report, published online Wednesday, alleges widespread academic fraud within the football program. Upcoming parts of the series will detail alleged widespread drug use by players, and illicit relationships between recruits and team hostesses.

SI, which said it interviewed more than 60 former players, alleges the wrongdoing took place from 2001 through 2011. Fedora said that he had no knowledge of violations during his time on Oklahoma State’s staff, and that he saw “nothing” that raised his suspicion.

“I’ll tell you this,” Fedora said. “There was no doubt on my mind and (the mind of) every guy on that staff that it was clear from that administration and (coach) Mike Gundy that you were going to do things right there. No doubt.”

Fedora left Oklahoma State after the 2007 season to become the coach at Southern Mississippi. UNC named him its coach in December 2011, after a prolonged NCAA investigation into impermissible benefits and academic fraud led to the firing of former coach Butch Davis.

Fedora said he has discussed the SI report with Bubba Cunningham, the UNC athletics director. Fedora said he and Cunningham spoke on Tuesday, after the first of SI’s five stories went live.

“I was obviously at Oklahoma State from 2005 through 2007, and so it was just a natural conversation on what my thoughts were about the situation,” Fedora said.

Gunter Brewer, UNC’s wide receivers coach, worked on Oklahoma State’s staff from 2005 through 2010. Fedora said he had talked about the report with Brewer, who said through an athletic department spokesman that he won’t discuss SI’s report until after all five parts have been published.

Carter: 919-829-8944; Twitter: @_andrewcarter

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