Hart Lee Dykes seeks a little recognition for his OSU career
BY MATT BAKER World Sports Writer
Friday, April 22, 2011
4/22/11 at 6:48 AM
Related story: Up close with Hart Lee Dykes.
When Rashaun Woods, Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon started racking up All-America seasons in Stillwater, former Oklahoma State receiver Hart Lee Dykes fielded phone calls from fans and reporters asking for perspective or analysis.
But, he says, one caller has been conspicuously absent - OSU.
"Whenever there's a wide receiver that comes through Oklahoma State, everyone starts calling me, (asking) What do I think?" Dykes said. "Yet Oklahoma State has never recognized me. ..."
Dykes said he's not bitter toward the school, but he feels he deserves more recognition.
"That era, they don't want to mention it," Dykes said. "They don't want to accept me for who I am and give me the recognition I deserve, because everyone else thinks I'm one of the best receivers to come through there."
The numbers back him up.
He left the Cowboys as the Big Eight's all-time leader in catches and receiving yards. He ranks second in OSU history in career receptions (203) and receiving yards (3,171), behind Woods.
But Dykes is perhaps more famous for what happened before he came to Stillwater from Bay City, Texas.
Dykes was the focus of what the NCAA called a "bidding war" between OSU, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Illinois. A Cowboys assistant gave Dykes $5,000 for signing with OSU, and Dykes received cash payments and a sports car from the school during his record-breaking career, according to the NCAA's report.
Dykes cooperated with an NCAA investigation that punished all four schools and led to OSU's three-year postseason ban.
He said he thinks that scandal is the reason he hasn't been honored by the Cowboys as teammates Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas and Mike Gundy have been.
"It's like it overshadows my performance on the field," Dykes told the Tulsa World in a phone interview. "I don't think that's right. I think I should be judged as a football player, a student-athlete. My performance on the field spoke for itself."
Dykes said he shouldn't have accepted the benefits, but he thinks most players would have done the same.
"Hey, man, I was a kid," said Dykes, now a 44-year-old retired player living in Sugar Land, Texas.
"Any 18-year-old kid, you offer him money, you offer him incentives, they're going to take it. The only people that want to act like I was a villain are people that don't want to accept it and don't want to look in the mirror at what life is."
Similar scandals clouded the college football season. Auburn's Cam Newton was reportedly shopped around to schools by his father. Players at North Carolina and South Carolina were punished for receiving extra benefits.
"It runs rampant," Dykes said.
One way to try to fix the problem, Dykes said, would be to pay players.
Athletes risk serious injuries on the field for a team that makes millions, and Dykes said he thinks players should get more than a scholarship for their time.
But that plan, too, has its flaws.
"Once again, it's going to be uncontrollable," Dykes said. "Who's to say who's getting what? Sure they'll put guidelines on it, but who's going to follow it? There are guidelines now, and schools don't follow it. That's the world we live in."
Dykes stressed that he's not angry at OSU. He said he's looking forward to seeing his former coach, Pat Jones, and ex-teammate Thurman Thomas for the 2011 Legends in Sports Dinner on May 1 at the Renaissance Hotel.
Dykes still attends Cowboys games regularly and said most fans treat him well.
But he said he feels as if his alma mater isn't doing the same.
"I think I laid a lot of sweat and tears for OSU," Dykes said, "and for it to be overshadowed and covered up, I don't agree with that."
Legends in Sports Dinner
What: Dinner to benefit Tulsa Sports Charities
When: 7 p.m. May 1
Where: Renaissance Hotel
Honorees: Include NFL Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas, former OSU head coach Pat Jones, former OSU receiver Hart Lee Dykes and former OSU quarterback Rusty Hilger.
Tickets: Contact Tommy Thompson at 918-645-4905 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original Print Headline: Seeking a little recognition
Matt Baker 918-581-8358
Former OSU player Hart Lee Dykes (center), shown with OSU coach Mike Gundy (left) and former OSU coach Pat Jones, feels he deserves more recognition for his college career. Tulsa World file