Switzer says he
learned of the investigation from "different sources" and called
Thompson into his office. "He sat there, and I said, 'Charles, they've got
you,' " says Switzer. "He was shattered. He told me the truth, the
whole thing. The first thing I asked, Ts there anyone else involved?' That's
the first thing that races through my mind. He said, 'Coach, I acted alone.' I
got him on the phone, got him together with a lawyer. He went of his own
volition and turned himself in."
The FBI briefly
considered taking legal action against whomever Switzer's snitch might have
been, but dropped the idea because neither Switzer nor his informer appeared to
be trying to obstruct justice. Switzer isn't at all contrite. "I've been
accused of ruining an investigation by doing this," he says. "If I'd
let it go on, after what's happened to me, how would that have looked? When it
all came out, and people found out I had known, how would that have looked? If
we know this information, we have to protect ourselves."
Thompson spent part of last summer in a drug rehabilitation center, a fact that
the university revealed after Thompson's arrest. And Thompson had had a
previous brush with the law only weeks before he was scheduled to begin classes
at Oklahoma. In August 1986 Thompson pleaded guilty in Tulsa to a charge of
petty larceny and no contest to an assault-and-battery charge for stealing a
pair of gloves and shoving a store clerk. He was ordered to perform community
service and attend a counseling session for shoplifters.
Switzer and his
players aren't the only ones in the Sooners' program who appear to be out of
control. Four days before Oklahoma faced Clemson in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 2
in Orlando, Fla., Sooner assistant Scott Hill, who had earlier been reprimanded
by the NCAA for recruiting improprieties and who may not recruit off-campus in
1990, engaged in what Duncan calls "horseplay" at the posh Lake Nona
Hill ran up a $475
bar tab with other Oklahoma coaches and was involved in roughhousing that
resulted in a shattered cherrywood chair and a damaged table. Hill later
slammed bowl official Tony Martin into a car, bruising his cheek and chest. As
of last week Oklahoma still had not reimbursed the Citrus Bowl for $583 in
damages that the committee paid to the Lake Nona club.
"Scott is going to send them an apology, and he's going to be responsible
for seeing that payment occurs. There was damage done, and even though it was
in fun, you pay for it."
Not to be outdone
by their coaches, a number of players trashed their rooms at the Peabody Hotel
in Orlando. Switzer's response was to upbraid the local press for reporting the
Switzer points out
that after every malfeasance involving his players he calls a meeting and warns
them to behave. Still, Sooners just can't seem to stay out of trouble. On Feb.
2 Anthony Duplisse, a graduate student at Oklahoma, swore out an
assault-and-battery complaint against VanKeirsbilck. Duplisse alleged that the
6'2", 270-pound VanKeirsbilck had hit him from behind in a fight outside
Brothers, an off-campus watering hole. Both VanKeirsbilck and the bar's owner,
Keith Allen, maintain that Duplisse was drunk and belligerent (which Duplisse
denies) and had been asked to leave. Allen says that Duplisse attacked him
inside the bar and Sooner split end Carl Cabbiness on the sidewalk outside
Brothers. "Mark came to my defense," says Allen, who ended up with a
split lip and a broken left hand after, he says, being struck by Duplisse.
out of 10 you've got to bite your lip and just walk away," says
VanKeirsbilck. "But you see one of your friends get hit, and your instincts
take over. The warnings never crossed my mind. The adrenaline starts flowing,
and you don't think about what's going to happen tomorrow, what I'm going to
read in the paper."
incidents," says Switzer, over and over again, not just about the
occasional brawl, but also about the shooting, the alleged rape and the drug