Handling of Ollie Gordon II Situation Reveals Morality Deficit at Oklahoma State Under Mike Gundy

    Oklahoma State head coach may believe Ollie Gordon's situation is "over with," but his handling of it has ensured it is anything but.

    By far the biggest storyline coming out of Big 12 Media Days was how Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy would handle running back Ollie Gordon’s recent arrest.

    Evidently, an internal punishment and having Gordon speak at the event was all the handling it needed.

    Has Mike Gundy Handled the Ollie Gordon II Situation Sufficiently?

    An Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer pulled Gordon over on Sunday, June 30, after the 2023 Doak Walker Award winner was seen swerving and reaching 82 mph in a 65 mph zone. There were two open alcohol containers in the car, although Gordon told the officer he didn’t drink. Oklahoma state law prohibits minors (under 21) from possessing or purchasing alcohol.

    Furthermore, the same law prohibits minors from having a blood alcohol level of more than 0.02%. Once at the county jail, he took two breath samples, which showed blood alcohol levels of .11 and .10, above the legal limit of 0.08.

    On Monday, July 8, Gordon released the following statement:

    “I am deeply sorry for the sections that led to my arrest on June 30th. I sincerely apologize to my family, everyone in our program, including our players, Coach Gundy, the staff, Oklahoma State University, and our fans.

    “Regardless of the outcome of this pending investigation, I did not uphold the values I have for myself and the values of the OSU football program. I am committed to learning and growing from this mistake and I will work to earn back the trust of those who I have disappointed. Thank you.”

    After some time to gather all the facts, Gundy announced Gordon’s disciplinary action on Tuesday morning: The star RB will not be suspended but will receive internal punishment (likely a fine or docking of NIL funds) and speak at the conference’s Media Days.

    Is losing out on money more impactful than missing playing time against a low-level school? Yes, but why not do both if you really care about making a statement? Gundy explained his decision to ESPNU after his media time:

    “When I looked at it, I thought, OK, I’m gonna be real honest with myself first and then make the best decision for what I think’s good for Ollie, our university, and our team. And then, I started thinking about being a parent. I have a 28, I have a 23, and I have a 19 [year-old]. So I looked it up on my phone, ‘What would be the legal limit?’ In Oklahoma, it’s 0.08, and Ollie was 0.10.

    “But I thought, really, two or three beers, or four — I’m not justifying what Ollie did. I’m telling you what decision I made. I thought, ‘I’ve probably done that 1,000 times in my life, and I was fine.’ So I got lucky. People get lucky. Ollie made a decision that he wished he could’ve done better. But when I talked to Ollie, I told him, you’re lucky. You got out light because you make a lot of money to play football. Back in the day, being able to cover the cost of what he’s gonna go through would be difficult for a college player. It’s not for him.

    “I’m not speaking for him, but I’m just saying that’s not an issue for him. Nobody got hurt. I said, ‘We see people doing this and people losing their lives across the country — not just football players, but everybody. So you got out lucky.’”

    The longtime head coach finished by saying, “If there’s any punishment, it’s make him carry the ball 50 times the first game.”

    During his time on stage, the head coach went as far as to say after today, the situation is behind them, in his eyes.

    “After he decided that he wanted to come to today’s event, I told him, ‘When this is finished today at 4 o’clock, it’s over for me. I’ve already made the decisions that I think are best for you and this team, and you need to make the decisions and the comments on what you think’s best for yourself and the team, and then after today, it’s over with.'”

    For his part, Gordon has said all the right things since the incident, explaining his choice to attend the Big 12 event: “I didn’t want my coach or my teammates to deal with any questions about me.”

    Unfortunately, ESPN opted to stay away from the topic during their time with the 1,700-yard rusher, skirting the “being accountable” aspect that was supposed to be part of Gordon’s rehabilitation.

    The 20-year-old made a potentially life-altering mistake, and hopefully, he learned from it.  But it’s not Gordon’s fault he’s getting a slap on the wrist instead of a suspension — that’s on Gundy for setting the wrong precedent, one that tells players there are consequences for their actions … as long as they don’t hurt the on-field product.

    The program’s response is especially disheartening just days after three young men, including Minnesota Vikings rookie CB Khyree Jackson, lost their lives in a Maryland car accident. Investigators believe the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol.

    Yet, it’s not a surprising decision and only continues a pattern of Gundy letting players off the hook — as long as they are good enough.

    In October 2010, star WR Justin Blackmon was arrested on a misdemeanor DUI complaint in Carrollton, Texas, after going 32 mph over the posted speed limit of 60.

    “It’s unfortunate that this happened for him, because he really is a good person,” Gundy said after the news broke. “… I wouldn’t have an issue with leaving him with my three sons. I’d let him babysit in a heartbeat. He’s a very caring person who’s made a mistake, and he’s going to suffer the consequences.”

    The consequences? A one-game suspension.

    Then, in October 2015, WR Jhajuan Seales and freshman CB Juwan Offray were arrested in Port Arthur, Texas, on a complaint of public intoxication after being passed out in the drive-thru lane of a Whataburger restaurant.

    Offray, who primarily played on special teams and already had multiple violations of team rules, was dismissed from the team. However, Seales, a rotational deep threat, was suspended for one game.

    “He’s made a poor decision; he’s paid his price,” Gundy said. “Put him on the StairMaster for three days for two hours a day, and he didn’t get to play in the game.”

    Lastly, Trey Rucker. Last season, the starting safety was arrested in September for a suspected DUI and driving with a suspended license. It was his second DUI offense, with his first coming in 2021. Yet, not only did Gundy allow Rucker to be active with the team, but the defender didn’t miss a single start the rest of the season.

    We aren’t talking about littering or even petty theft — every day, about 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes. Call Gundy’s comments “refreshingly honest” all you want; I’ll call them what they really are: a blatant disregard for the potential consequences of reckless and avoidable behavior.

    If Gundy wants to demonstrate genuine accountability, he needs to prioritize integrity over athletic success. Until then, the message remains clear: talent trumps responsibility for Oklahoma State football.

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