Sep 9, 2013
STILLWATER - Oklahoma State Athletic Director Mike Holder spoke to the media today at Boone Pickens Stadium. His comments:
"Welcome to Stillwater, everybody. Normally, I don't get to speak at these. I don't really have any desire to speak at these. This should be about football, and indirectly, what I'm going to talk about is going to be about football. Not the football game coming up. That's what everybody wants to hear about and talk about.
"Unfortunately, we've got something out there on the horizon that we're going to have to deal with. I don't know a lot of specifics. I know enough to be very concerned. Sports Illustrated sent two very capable people in here to talk to us last week. George Dohrmann, who is a writer on the story, he did win a Pulitzer Prize. The Investigative Editor, I had never met one of those before, his name was B.J. Schecter. He was an impressive young man. They believe that what they're about to write is true. As the athletic director at Oklahoma State and an alumnus of the university, I don't want to believe that it's true.
"We pride ourselves on doing things the right way around here. It's kind of unique, because the president of the university, Burns Hargis, the athletic director, Mike Holder, the head football coach, Mike Gundy, and then I could go down the list of a lot more coaches and head coaches that all went to this school. This is more than a job, and I consider it a calling. I was talking to my wife on Saturday at the game and said 'How lucky are we? We get to do something we love, and they call it a job.' If I were retired, I'd want to be doing what I'm doing today, and a lot of people say - Boone Pickens among them - that I've had my feet on the handle bar too long and I need to get to work, and maybe he's right. But the whole point of that was to say that we take this personally.
"We're all committed to playing by the rules and doing things the right way, and for people to say that is not what's happening is very disturbing. Our goal is to separate fact from fiction, and then we can start dealing with it. We've already notified the NCAA, and they're going to assign an investigator to this. We'll reach out and get someone to stand with that investigator and go through the facts. And at the end of the day, we'll come to some conclusions, and we'll deal with those. We'll prop ourselves back up, polish up that OSU brand and move on down the road.
"I apologize to all of the athletic directors in the conference for what's about to happen, what's about to be said about a member institution. That reflects on everyone, all of our brothers and peers. I've reached out, but couldn't call all of our supporters. I'd like to call every single season ticket holder we've got. We're about to sell a record number of season tickets. We have a responsibility to those people. They're going to suffer from this as well. My message was 'You're not going to like what you hear. It's going to be a rough few days, but our hope is that you may not be proud about what's being said about you, but we hope to make you proud of the way that we deal with it and how we stood up, didn't make any excuses and didn't try to cover anything up.
"I'm the guy in charge. Ultimately, the buck stops at my door, and I'm ready to accept responsibility for whatever is being said. It doesn't matter how long it's been since I've been athletic director. I've been here since 1966 since I was a student or employee, so I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly in the past. I really feel like that at 65 years of age, everything that I've done until now has prepared me for this moment in time, so I just hope to make everybody proud at the end of this process.
"This is your institution, and if you're a student and thinking about going someplace in the future, I hope you think 'That might be a place that I want to go. I like the way that these people talk and what they stand for.'
"I don't think that it's really appropriate for me to answer any questions. I'm not really afraid of them. I just wouldn't have any answers. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to read these stories, however many days that it takes, catch my breath and then we'll start working through the process. Everybody out there, time to Cowboy up, and let's ride for the brand."