Tatum Bell was one of several players to publicly deny claims made by Sports Illustrated.
Bell was a running back at Oklahoma State from 2000-2003. In 2003, he ran for 1,286 yards and 16 touchdowns as a key member of a Cowboys team that went 9-4.
Bell went on to play four seasons with the Denver Broncos and one with the Detroit Lions. In 2005 with Denver, he ran for 1,025 yards.
In the Sports Illustrated article, Bell was pointed out by another former OSU running back, Seymore Shaw, as a player who received cash bonuses for performance.
According to Shaw, “(Bell) couldn't keep his mouth shut. He'd get (money) and he'd hurry up and come and tell me."
The article also said “Bell, (Victor) DeGrate and (Josh) Fields all denied getting illicit payments.”
However, Bell was asked three times by the Daily O’Collegian in a telephone interview if Sports Illustrated talked to him, and said he was never interviewed or had any idea he was going to be mentioned in the article.
“I’m pissed off about it, man,” Bell said. “I’m pissed off they got my name in it, I’m pissed off they got anybody’s name in it.
“The whole article is false, man.”
Bell said multiple times he never accepted illicit payments or knew of any teammates who did.
“That wasn’t going on when I was there,” Bell said. “I never received a dime from nobody. Weren’t no boosters coming in the locker room, weren’t no handshakes, whatever the hell they called it, $500 handshakes. There wasn’t nothing like that going on.
“Kevin Wiliams wasn’t getting no money. Antonio Smith, Kareem Smith, Greg Richmond, myself, Rashaun Woods — none of those was getting money.”
The Sports Illustrated articled alleges players often received bonus from boosters in the locker room after games. But Bell’s comments contradicted that idea.
“If there was a booster around, it was Boone Pickens,” Bell said. “He wasn’t giving no money out. You couldn’t even get to him because he had security around. There wasn’t no environment like all the bull people portrayed. It wasn’t nothing like that. Wasn’t no women sleeping with no recruits to get the recruits.”
When asked why the article’s sources would lie, Bell gave mixed opinion.
“I never talked about money with Seymour,” Bell said. “I never, ever talked about it — the only thing we talked about was making it to the pros. That’s it.”
“(The sources) were probably desperate for like the $50 or $100 or whatever they got from Sports Illustrated.”
The writer of the article, George Dohrmann, told OSU alumnus and CBS Sports personality Doug Gottlieb that they didn’t pay sources.
Bell also supported former OSU coach Joe DeForest, who is alleged to have implemented a bonus system and paid players for work not performed.
“Defo was my guy,” Bell said. “And if Defo was handing out some money, I would’ve been in the loop to get some money ... I couldn’t tell you where he lived, nothing like that, but he was cool with me.”
As for the entirety of the article, Bell insisted OSU complied with all NCAA rules during his time in Stillwater.
“Man, there’s nothing dirty going on,” Bell said.
“It’s 100 percent clean. 100 percent”