Miles defends his time spent as Oklahoma State head coach

By By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

LSU’s Les Miles went on the offensive Wednesday with his most passionate defense to date about his time at Oklahoma State,

which has come under fire in the midst of a series of stories by Sports Illustrated.

Wednesday’s second installment of the

five-part series alleged academic misconduct at Oklahoma State during

and after Miles’

tenure at the school from 2001-2004. On the heels of the first

story that suggested players were paid by boosters or received

money for doing sham jobs, Wednesday’s story suggested that Miles

and, later, current coach Mike Gundy, weren’t interested

in players’ academic well being, only keeping them eligible.

Miles got emotional during his turn on

the weekly Southeastern Conference teleconference when remembering his

time at OSU

when the 9/11 terrorists attacks came down in 2001. He also

recalled he was an assistant coach at the school when the Murrah

Federal Building was bombed in Oklahoma City.

“I saw the strength of the Oklahoma people,” he said with his voice quivering. “I revered my time in Stillwater.”

The he got riled up.

“The idea that somebody would characterize the program that was run there as anything but right and correct … Did we work

hard? You betcha. Did we make tough decisions about starting lineups. You betcha.

“But every guy was encouraged to get his degree, to stay the course and to fight.

“And I can tell you that people (former players) that were commenting on the state of the program weren’t there long enough

to figure it out.

“And they heard me tell them, ‘Attend class and do the right things’ and heard me routinely.”

Wednesday’s story claimed that some OSU players were guided toward easy classes, had grades changed by sympathetic professors

or had class work done for them by tutors and counselors.

Miles denied it.

“I can tell you that staff, families and friends and anybody that sat in our meeting rooms knew that this thing was done right.”

One example cited in the story reported

that Miles would tell his players “Academics first, football second” —

but while reciting

it, he would hold up two fingers when saying academics and one

finger while saying football.

In the story, Miles is quoted as saying that it happened just once and it was “in a moment of humor.”

Miles didn’t want to be questioned about OSU on the weekly SEC coaches teleconference. All of his comments came during his

opening remarks.

The final three installments of the Sports Illustrated series will focus on drugs, sex and the fallout.