About 12 hours after Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder released a statement regarding a review of OSU football coach Mike Gundy and the program, he talked with members of the media on those subjects among other things.
Holder and OSU deputy athletic director Chad Weiberg investigated Gundy and his program after comments were made by current and former players regarding Gundy and possible racial remarks he’s made in the past.
The investigation started after star running back Chuba Hubbard took issue with a photo of Gundy wearing an OAN (One America News network) T-shirt on a fishing trip. That prompted a video of Gundy and Hubbard later that day, and another the next day by Gundy saying he talked to his players, heard their opinions, apologized and vowed to make changes.
Late Thursday night, Holder released the following statement regarding the investigation:
“We have spent the past couple of weeks reviewing our program and talking with current and former players,” the statement read. “Our internal review found that Coach Gundy needs to invest more time in building stronger relationships with his student-athletes. However, our review has uncovered no signs or indication of racism.
“After meeting with Coach Gundy, I am confident that he listened to his student-athletes. I believe he is genuine in his commitment to strengthening relationships with his players. I believe this to be a win for everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact this will have on our team.”
On Friday morning, Holder addressed the review and began the zoom meeting with this statement:
“I’ll just say this, on Tuesday, June 16, Chad Weiberg and I began a journey seeking answers for the multitude of questions being asked about our football program and Mike Gundy,” Holder said. “Our only goal was to follow the truth wherever it led us and make the best decision or decisions for Oklahoma State University. No agenda, preconceived notions, selfish motives are nod to public opinion. We listen to multiple current former players and asked probing questions about their experiences. The more we listened, the more we learned, and a common theme began to emerge. This wasn't about a T-shirt. This was about a lot of things. … We learned that our players love always OSU. They love being on our football team. They love their teammates. There are a lot more positives about our program than negatives.
“The players want to be great, and they're willing to make sacrifices. They're unselfish and loyal. Our coaches have done a great job recruiting high-character young men. The missing link has been a more personal relationship with their head coach. They respect him as an excellent game day coach, but they want more coaching on a personal level. This crosses all racial lines to a man – our players want a better connection to Mike Gundy. They view him as a difference maker, and they want him to help them grow as leaders. We conveyed this message to Coach Gundy, and his reaction has been everything that you would want. He has been humble, remorseful and committed to change. As uncomfortable as the last two weeks have been, I believe this experience has changed Mike Gundy, and our players will be the beneficiaries. At the end of the journey, the decision was obvious – Mike Gundy is an excellent coach, and he's accomplished a lot in his 15-year career. However, the best is yet to come.”
Another bit of news regarding Gundy was released Friday morning. College football reporter Brett McMurphy reported Gundy’s contract was shortened from a five-year rollout to four years with a pay cut.
Holder verified this in the zoom meeting.
“I can confirm that it's true, and I can also confirm that it has nothing to do with the pandemic,” Holder said. “Those budget adjustments and salary cuts are in our future. I can't tell you what they're going to look like, right now. We have no clue what's going to happen with our ability to play sports of any kind this coming year. And if we have revenue shortfalls, we'll make the appropriate adjustments when we have better information.
“The changes were offered up by Mike Gundy, and I commend him for that. It was his idea to take a $1 million pay cut. You don't find that very often in the competitive world and college football. We made a few other changes to the contract, and his suggestions. So I commend him for that. I thought I should I think it really demonstrates his his commitment to be a better a better coach and he wanted to make a statement that assured all the players that this wasn't just about talk, this was more about action. And that's the first step.”