SI Vault
Rick Telander
February 27, 1989
Oklahoma has paid the price for the anything-goes attitude that coach Barry Switzer has allowed to take root
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
February 27, 1989

You Reap What You Sow

Oklahoma has paid the price for the anything-goes attitude that coach Barry Switzer has allowed to take root

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

In a rage, Parks bolted from the dorm and into the parking lot. He returned with a Harrington & Richardson eight-shot .22-caliber revolver. He threatened Peters with it and was taunted in return. "You're not going to do anything," said Peters. "I dare you! Go on, shoot me! Shoot me!" Peters stepped forward and pushed Parks yet again. Parks shot him. The bullet missed Peters's heart by three inches. Parks fled to neighboring Jones Hall, where he was apprehended by university police officers. "I'm the one who did it," police quoted Parks as saying. "I had no choice."

Peters is back in school; he's expected to recover fully and to play football in the fall, though he'll carry the embedded slug from his friend's gun as a reminder of the incident. Parks, who faces a preliminary hearing in March on a charge of shooting with intent to injure, is at home in Missouri City, Texas, and under the impression that he might someday rejoin the Sooners. He's mistaken. Switzer says forcefully that Parks's football career at Oklahoma is over.

That Parks would have been involved in such an incident is not surprising. "He was talented, but he had a violent temper," says Switzer. "He'd jump right in a person's face. He was always volatile."

So why had Switzer recruited him? "Everyone else wanted him," says Switzer. "He was highly recruited. He would've played for another school."

Police records say that Alan Hagen, 18, of nearby Noble, Okla., was among those in the room at the time of the shooting. Earlier that day Hagen had been released from the Cleveland County Detention Center, where he had served 30 days for stealing a VCR and a television from his father, a chemistry professor at Oklahoma. After the university police took Parks into custody, they took a witness statement from Hagen and dropped him at the local Salvation Army mission because he claimed no permanent residence.

The police don't know why Hagen was in the dorm, though they have verified that he knew some of the players. "I don't know why he was in there, either," says junior tackle Mark VanKeirsbilck, who lived in the dorm until last December. "But a guy like that just shouldn't have been in there."

The furor over the shooting had hardly subsided when worse news came from Bud Hall: A 20-year-old Oklahoma City woman alleged that on Jan. 21 five football players had gang-raped her in Suite 302. The woman told police that she and a 17-year-old girlfriend had come to visit a player and that she was to be set up on a blind date. The woman said that early in the evening she and Clay had made a liquor run and then had drinks in the dorm with several of Clay's friends. The woman told police that she felt uneasy because some of the men were "making passes" at her while they were playing cards. She said she went to the bathroom, and when she came out, she found the dorm room darkened. Then, according to the university police incident report, "[The victim] was grabbed by an unknown suspect and forced into the adjoining bedroom. The suspect was unzipping her dress. [She] fought the suspect. The suspect threw [her] onto a bed then down onto the floor. [She] began screaming whereupon the suspect placed his hands over her mouth."

The victim alleged that the unnamed suspect "forcibly" removed her clothes, and that six attempts to rape her were made by an undetermined number of men. Four times one or another of them had intercourse with her. "She continually screamed for help and later learned the interior door had been blocked," the police report said.

In executing a search warrant in Suite 302 two days later, the university police found "a majority" of the items the woman said that they would find—an earring, two bottles of cologne, some hair, a bloodstained rug, as well as 35 rounds of ammunition. After a 2½-week investigation, the Cleveland County district attorney charged Clay, Bell and Hall with first-degree rape.

Four of their teammates gave statements to the DA and were listed as possible witnesses, and two of them have said that they subsequently were contacted by the defendants. Sophomore offensive guard Larry Medice told prosecutors that Clay had called him and said, "I know you went to the DA's office. Don't lie to me." Defensive back Jimmy Fennell, a freshman, said that Hall told him during a phone conversation, "My cousins from Detroit will come down and take care of you."

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8