On Wednesday, Aug. 28, Sports Illustrated senior writer George Dohrmann placed a phone call to Oklahoma State's public relations office. He said that the magazine was about to publish a series of stories about what he characterized as "disturbing allegations" involving the OSU football program. An in-person meeting with university officials was arranged for the following week. It would be SI's way of laying out what it was about to publish, and would give OSU officials a chance to respond.
What went on in that meeting recapitulates in miniature the process by which SI assembled its investigation into OSU.
SI, as it had throughout its reporting, showed little interest in the perspectives or information of anyone not directly involved with the football program—surprising, given that the supposed purpose of the investigation was to provide a "deeper, longitudinal" view of how big-time football can corrupt an academic institution.
The magazine also declined to give OSU the opportunity to address specific claims or corroborate basic information about players, coaches, tutors, and professors. Partly, this was a tactical decision by journalists not wishing to leave footprints all over Stillwater while reporting a sensitive story, but it would backfire when it turned out that a key source's claims could have been refuted with a simple phone call.