Penthouse Retrospective

by Charles Thompson and Allan Sonnenschein Originally Published: October, 1990

College Football History | 30 Years Ago This Month

One week after the Parks-Peters shooting, a more horrible incident took place in Bud Hall. There are different accounts of what happened, but court documents state that a 20-year-old woman claimed she was raped by five men. Like the shooting, the rape was one more disaster waiting to happen. Less than three weeks after David Swank’s statement, weapons were found in the room of Nigel Clay, one of the accused (and later convicted) rapists. Dr. Swank refused to discuss any of these incidents for this book, as has everyone in the athletic department.

“I didn’t think that was a big deal … But it was not unusual for a woman to come to a player’s room and wind up having sex with a group.”

There is no excuse for anyone to force a woman, or for that matter, anyone else, against their will. What happened can only be understood within the context of life at Bud Hall. The day after the incident most of the guys in the dorm knew something had happened. Coming from study hall, I bumped into Nigel Clay, a 290-pound lineman who wasn’t noted for being a ladies’ man. Earlier, I had been with some of the guys on the team who were saying that a girl had been raped in Nigel’s room. It was one of those stories where the facts are wrong, but the core of it is right. I asked Nigel what everyone was talking about.

He began talking 90 miles a second and it was hard to follow him. “Oh, man,” he stuttered, “I never did nothing. Fucking Bernard Hall, well, he went and took some pussy last night. They might be in trouble, man. I was under the impression …”

“Nigel, man, slow down,” I said. “What are you saying?”

“Yeah, yeah, man,” he said. “I had nothing to do with it, but you know Bernard. She’s trying to say we raped her, but you know Bernard.”

It was still difficult to figure out what he was saying. My impression was that some girl had gone to Nigel’s room and that both he and Bernard Hall had screwed her. At the time, I didn’t think that was a big deal. It was not uncommon for women to come to the players’ rooms, and after one had had sex with her, his roomie might join him. Sometimes a woman would get upset, but it would blow over.

Women in Oklahoma were no different than men when it came to Sooner football. Everything centered around the team, especially on campus. For good or bad, the players had top priority when it came to women. If a regular student and a football player were going after the same girl, the athlete had a much better chance. To the players it was part of winning — when you reap the benefits, and women were one of the best. After a win we’d say, “Let’s go home and get some V.P. [Victory Pussy].” For the few occasions when O.U. lost, there was another expression: “It ain’t that bad, we’ll go home and get some S.P. [Sympathy Pussy].”

The most attractive O.U. coeds were always in Bud Hall. Even after the rape they still came around. After the rape a curfew was established and women had to be out of the dorm by midnight, but that was more public relations than anything else. Waking up for breakfast. I’d see women leaving the dorm.

Musicians use the term “groupies” at O.U. the expression was “freaks.” There were plenty of women going out with several players at the same time. I know of a few who slept with seven different players within a two-week period. There were others who spent a night sleeping with five, six, seven guys. It was a common sight and you just accepted it as normal. It was like rock music, with our stage the football field and the quarterback the lead singer. Our freaks were as attractive as any of Mick Jagger’s groupies. We didn’t have to force anybody to have sex with us, but like the gifts from the boosters we expected it. None of this excuses what happened in Nigel Clay’s room, but it does shed light on the mentality of the football team when it came to women.

It was common at O.U. for black players to be involved with white women. This wasn’t only a matter of preference — most of the groupies who hung around the jocks were white (O.U. is an almost all-white school). The black girls who did hang out at the dorm usually had boyfriends. The coaches liked the players to think of the team as a family, but when it came to interracial dating, they thought differently. It was one thing if the woman was not attractive, but when a pretty white woman was seen in the company of a black player, the coaches let us know their displeasure. The white players felt the same as the coaches. When I started going out with Kori, a few white players went to her sorority sisters and told them to pressure her not to see me. Everyone on campus was for Charles Thompson on Saturday afternoon on the field, but not on Saturday night in his own bedroom.

Switzer was as bad as anyone else at O.U. when it came to race matters. He loved his black players scoring touchdowns and making tackles, but not scoring or making it with white women. Switzer went as far as to tell me, “Charles, stop fucking with my secretaries,” when I flirted with them and had them type reports for me.

Switzer and some of his coaches carried on with women as much as their players. One of the coaches went to bed with several girls I introduced him to, and when another coach met Kori, he told me, “What’s she doing with someone like you? I could go for some of that pussy.” The issue was never sex with the coaches, but race. At least it was at a dinner some of the players were invited to along with coaches Mike Jones, Gary Gibbs, and Scott Hill. Some white ladies asked Hill for an introduction to a few of the black players. Scott looked at me and said, “Thompson, why don’t you and your buddies go to one of those places where you can meet black women?”

Sport to some. Abusive to the point of near slavery to others. Near to religion for even more. College Football checks all those boxes.

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