Former OSU player Artrell Woods says he wants to ge paid [Tulsa World, Okla.]
(Tulsa World (OK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 17--Former Oklahoma State receiver Artrell Woods was a central figure in Sports Illustrated's final chapter of "The Dirty Game."
Woods, during a Monday telephone interview, said he hasn't read any of the five-part investigative series. He didn't know the final chapter was published until he was informed of it during the phone interview. That, he said, must be why his cell phone has been blowing up.
But Woods doesn't care about any of that. He doesn't care how he was portrayed. He just wants to get paid.
"Bottom line. That's all," he said. "For pain and suffering. For me taking a whole semester off after breaking my back and me ending up with a General Studies degree ... Can somebody please tell me what the (expletive) that is?"
Woods injured his spinal cord during a weightroom accident in July 2007. He made a comeback and was given a standing ovation by fans when he caught a pass in a 2008 game against Iowa State. That could have been a happily-ever-after moment, but -- five years and a transfer to Central Oklahoma later -- Woods sounds like an angry young man.
Woods said he tells every reporter who calls him that he isn't interested in what is going on at OSU or what SI writes. He just wants a judge or a lawyer to call and tell him he is either owed -- or not owed -- money and he hasn't gotten that call.
"I don't give a damn about who was getting paid," he said. "I don't care about who might have been paying them. I could care less about any of that. That's my main point I try to get across to everybody, because I've got people jumping on my Facebook and jumping on me like 'stuff happens to everybody.'
"Well, (expletive) not everybody breaks their back and gets paralyzed. (Stuff) happens to everybody, but if that doesn't happen to you, then don't tell me how I should feel afterwards, especially when I'm doing something I don't want to do in the first place."
Later during the interview, Woods said he "doesn't even want that money." He said all he ever wanted to be was a video game developer and he wants to find a way to make that happen.
"Name one D-I school that is going to let one football player take those type of classes," he said, adding that he needs over $100,000 to start a business.
"I don't need their money. I can make my own (expletive) money. I just need the opportunity to make money like everybody else has."
Added Woods, "The only way I see that happening is you all writing me a check. It could be for $300,000 or $3,000,000. It's about three dollars out of their pocket at the end of the day."
Dr. Marilyn Middlebrook, who is responsible for administration of the academic support program for OSU student-athletes, said in an interview last week that student-athletes are not denied the opportunity to pursue degree programs of their choice.
Woods was asked if he would be satisfied if someone would pay for him to go back to college.
"Absolutely not," he said. "I spent six years in school because of them. I'm not going to go to school some more. Are you kidding me?"
Woods could have stayed at OSU to complete coursework. He could have remained on a medical scholarship after his "comeback" season, but wanted to play football. He transferred to UCO and battled through other injuries during two seasons there, catching four passes in 2010 and 30 in 2011.
After the transfer, OSU was no longer permitted to pay for Woods' education.
A source close to the football program suggested that coach Mike Gundy feared for Woods' safety if he had continued playing for the Cowboys after the "comeback" season and that's why Woods was offered a medical scholarship. The source recalled Gundy saying he wouldn't want to risk his own child playing major college football under similar circumstances. The source said Gundy said he "just did not feel right about him being out there" and was trying to protect Woods.
Woods said he believes he was offered a medical scholarship so he wouldn't count against OSU's scholarship allotment.
In 2007, Woods told an interviewer it was a blessing just to be able to walk again and he expressed appreciation for the people (including Dr. Brock Schnebel and OSU trainer Rob Hunt) who made his comeback possible.
"They helped me to walk again," he said. "You can't thank somebody that does that for you enough. There is no way you can say thank you enough for that."
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
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