Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy accepted a $1 million pay cut and a one-year contract reduction as part of an internal review sparked by sharp criticism from star running back, Chuba Hubbard, after he wore a T-shirt promoting far-right news channel OANN.
On Friday, athletic director Mike Holder stated the changes made to Gundy's contract were the coach’s own idea, and maintained that he believed Gundy has always treated the Black players well.
This came a day after Holder released a statement announcing that the internal review found “no sign or indication of racism” in the program.
Two weeks ago, Hubbard slammed Gundy on social media after he wore a T-shirt promoting One America News Network. The Black player also suggested that he may boycott the football program owing to the fact that OANN has been overly critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Speaking about Gundy, Holder stated: “I think it’s awakened him or alerted him to the fact that he wasn’t as close as his players and he needs to be. He’s going to change that.”
Gundy’s contract was reduced to four years from five, with his guarantee cut from 75% to 50%. His buyout also went from $5 million to $4 million. Holder didn't clarify whether the $1 million pay cut was just a one-time deal or an annual one.
“The changes were offered up by Mike Gundy, and I commend him for that. I think it really demonstrates his commitment to being a better coach. And he wanted to make a statement that assured all players that this wasn't just about talk,” Holder stated.
When asked about the criticisms against Hubbard for lashing out at the coach in public before holding a private conversation, Holder maintained that he was happy Hubbard spoke out.
“All the players should be commended for having the courage to speak up,” he said. “We need more of that in society, not less. That doesn't mean the players are in control. There's a reason that adults are in the leadership positions."
Gundy, a white man, apologized after he was seen in a video with Hubbard. He had also offered his apology in April after he called coronavirus the “Chinese virus” during a media appearance.
Last week, the school unveiled a new diversity council which will include athletes, students, and alumni.
Holder stated that he interviewed about 20 athletes following Hubbard’s criticism, but that he wasn’t sure of the number since he didn’t keep track. However, he stated that “the majority” of the players interviewed were Black.
“The missing link has been a more personal relationship with their head coach,” he said. “They respect him. He’s an excellent game-day coach. But they want more coaching on a personal level. This crosses all racial lines. To a man, our players want a better connection to Mike Gundy.”