WVU special teams coordinator DeForest accused of paying players at Oklahoma State

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Though his focus tonight is on West Virginia's marquee matchup with No. 16 Oklahoma, Mountaineers associate head coach/special teams coordinator Joe DeForest has found himself in hot water.

An upcoming investigative project by Sports Illustrated will reportedly accuse DeForest of running a bonus program -- paying players for making specific plays -- during his 11-year tenure as assistant coach at Oklahoma State.

DeForest, now in his second season with the Mountaineers, was an assistant head coach at Oklahoma State from 2001 to 2011.

"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," West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck said in a release. "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."

Though DeForest has denied the claims, according to Luck, West Virginia has contacted the NCAA and has launched an internal investigation.

"It is the right thing to do to look into the matter and review practices here," Luck said.

The report, first unveiled by NewsOK on Saturday, includes other improprieties at Oklahoma State: paying players for jobs not performed, fostering an environment of academic impropriety, campus hostesses providing sex to recruits, and rampant drug abuse not slowed by a weak drug-testing policy.

Eighty-five percent of the allegations address events that occurred between 2001 and 2007, which falls outside the four-year statute of limitations on NCAA violations.

"Oklahoma State University is deeply troubled by these claims," Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis said in a press 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."

breaking - wvusports

Stephen J. Nesbitt: snesbitt@post-gazette.com, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.


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