Without directly addressing the allegations made by Sports Illustrated, Mike Holder said at a press conference, "I don't want to believe that it's true."
The magazine's allegations arise from a 10-month investigation in which SI reporters interviewed 63 Cowboys athletes who played between 1999 and 2011, as well as former and current staff members.
Part one of the series, released Tuesday, charged players were often the beneficiaries of largess from boosters and post-game handouts. Eight former OSU players said they got cash payments, the magazine reported, and named 29 other players who also took money.
"I don't know a lot of specifics" of the stories, Holder said at the press briefing. "I know enough to be very concerned."
"I apologize to all of the athletic directors in the conference for what's about to happen," he added. "We're all committed to playing by the rules and doing things the right way, and for people to say that is not what's happening is very disturbing. Our goal is to separate fact from fiction, and then we can start dealing with it."
Holder said he had already contacted the NCAA, who has assigned an investigator to look into Sports Illustrated charges.
"Ultimately, the buck stops at my door, and I'm ready to accept responsibility for whatever is being said," Holder said.
Holder has been at OSU since 1966 as a student or employee.
"I don't think that it's really appropriate for me to answer any questions," Holder said in concluding the press conference. "I'm not really afraid of them. I just wouldn't have any answers."
In upcoming stories, the magazine said it would detail allegations by some players that they participated in some form of academic misconduct and that players both used and sold drugs.
Sports Illustrated also charges in another story that sex, or promises of it, was used as a recruiting tool.