Tag Archives: Gene Smith

North Carolina Does The Right Thing

Dick Baddour did what Gene Smith couldn't do.

North Carolina did what Ohio State didn’t have the testicular fortitude to do; they fired their coach amid an NCAA investigation and other outstanding allegations while their AD stepped down in the process.

It didn’t matter that Butch Davis was the school’s most successful coach since Mack Brown in the 90’s, nor did it matter that he constantly said that he had no idea that his football team was running amuck. The school still held him responsible and told him to get to steppin.

I give now former AD Dick Baddour props for what he did yesterday. He swallowed his pride and admitted his mistake that Davis wasn’t worth the trouble that he was allowing to happen under his watch.

Baddour hired Davis to rebuild the North Carolina program in the way that he did with the University of Miami before Larry Coker took over. Davis recruited very well with future NFL-ers Marvin Austin, Greg Little and Hakeem Nicks standing out during his time there.

However, the school was caught in a huge scandal involving athletes receiving improper benefits from people outside of the program and more recently it came to pass that there were academic irregularities involving his players.

Davis continuously played dumb by stating that he had no idea of what was going on at the time and UNC went with it…

Until yesterday.

Davis cant play dumb any more.

Baddour fired Davis and then today stepped down as AD a year ahead of his retirement. He did so to ensure that the next coach wouldn’t have any conflict between his departure and the arrival of a new AD next year.

If only Gene Smith had the same level of care in his system.

This is what Ohio State should’ve done when it came time to discipline Jim Tressel. Sure Tressel was a highly successful coach and kept OSU in the top 10 nationally, but he was running a shoddy program.

Smith knew this and so did Gordon Gee. Instead of suspending him back when they knew of the violations they let all of 2010 play out, let him coach in the Sugar Bowl (not to mention let the players play), suspended him for two games, then only when the situation kept getting worse and worse did they finally allow him to step down or be forced out, whatever story you believe.

UNC didn’t let its recent success get in its way of making the right decision. It was clear that Davis was at fault for what was happening and it did the right thing by releasing him of his duties. Furthermore Baddour upped the ante by removing himself from his position due to the fact that all of this happened all of his watch.

The Tar Heels admitted their mistakes; the Buckeyes turn their dishonest leaders into martyrs.

North Carolina may not be on the same playing field as Ohio State when it comes to football, but rest assured the men in charge know what to do in a situation that calls for immediate action.

The Tar Heels will suffer in the short term on the field as they look for a new coach to get this team ready for football with only a month to prepare.

However, they should be the standard when it comes to disciplinary action. Their message to Butch Davis and any other coach that comes in is simple; hold others accountable for their actions as well as yourself. Success matters, but so does the integrity of the institution. If you can’t comply with both then you will not be a coach here.

I wish Ohio State would’ve taken that stance earlier this year.


The Curse Of Terrelle Pryor

Terrelle Pryor leaves OSU as a villian instead of a hero.

There is an air circulating over the city of Columbus, Ohio. It’s an eerie calm that rest over the city especially near the downtown region where The Ohio State University rests.

 

It’s finals week where some kids are studying hard to get through one last exam so they can hit the pools and the beaches and enjoy a summer in the sun, and others are preparing to finish out their scholastic careers and receive their diplomas at Ohio Stadium this Sunday.

 

One student is in between both scenarios. He will leave Ohio State with a myriad of memories that range from nostalgic to dreadful. He’s leaving school without a diploma and uncertainty as to where exactly he will land even though he boasts a pretty good resume.

 

One thing that stands out about him is not his talent in his field of study but all of the damage that he has done to himself and to the University that he called home for the last few years.

 

That man is the soon to be 22 year-old Terrelle Pryor. Former Quarterback of The Ohio State University.

 

Tuesday evening after his last final of the quarter, Pryor packed his bags and decided to leave Columbus after a 3 year career that featured more lows than high despite his statistics on the field.

 

Pryor was a winner on the field. He went 31-4 and won 2 BCS games including MVP honors at the 2010 Rose Bowl and the 2011 Sugar Bowl. However, let’s be honest, Pryor will be remembered for the comatose state that he will left OSU in upon his departure.

 

Let’s be clear about a few things; one, it’s not all his fault. Gene Smith deserves blame, E. Gordon Gee deserves blame, Jim Tressel, Mike Adams, Devier Posey and Dan Herron, the tattoo parlor, Aaron Kniffer, Ray Reitz and everyone involved in turning a blind eye to Pryor’s transgressions, and giving him everything he wanted and game him every excuse to be who he was.

Both of these deserve equal blame in the downfall of OSU.

 

Ever since high school Pryor was given everything and told how great he was and it continued all of the way to the end of his college days. Tomasina Pryor should’ve known that your kid doesn’t need cars in 3 years, Smith should’ve suspended him and his teammates for the Sugar Bowl, Tressel should’ve reported these violations when they happened. Why didn’t they? Because they all felt that they needed Pryor for whatever reasons there were. Pryor was their bread winner; their prized possession and they treated him like that. How would you act as a teenager when everyone allows you to do whatever you wanted and rewarded you?

 

Two, as much as I am not a fan of Pryor or his actions these rules are stupid. Bob Knight said it, Jay Bilas has said it over Twitter, the rules broken by these players are absolutely foolish. The fact that big time universities can cash in on their star “amateur” players yet the players cant is foolish.

 

The players themselves are merely pawns in a game to get their schools more TV money and revenue while most of the players never see the light of the NFL and even worse they never graduate. If Pryor or any of those players wanted to sell their memorabilia or signatures for money then they should have the right to do so.

 

With that said, rules are rules and Pryor broke them, continuously and without any care for them.

 

Pryor sold his name for thousands of dollars thanks to signatures for memorabilia. He sold his Big Ten Championship rings and Gold Pants given to the winner of the OSU-Michigan game for tattoos. He got deals on more than eight vehicles in three years… sure no one stopped him or got in his ear but he knew better.

 

The thing is that Pryor really didn’t care. He always talked like cared about OSU or how he was maturing and learned from his mistakes, but it all turned out to be just here say.

 

The fact is that Pryor didn’t learn much at Ohio State University, he didn’t learn to obey the rules, didn’t learn to respect the game, didn’t learn that when you do something harmful that it affects more than you or the team but also the institution, but most of all, and this is what will hurt him most, he didn’t really learn to perfect his craft.

 

Pryor leaves OSU without a clear vision of just where he will play or what position he’ll play. He’s neither accurate nor skilled enough to be an NFL QB right now and it doesn’t look like he’ll be a high pick in its supplemental draft, if there is one. He has an opportunity to play in the CFL or UFL but will it be as a QB or a wide receiver.

 

Right now Pryor is a man with no real direction as to where to go or what to do with himself.

 

Terrelle Pryor's last appearance in a OSU unifrom was at its annual spring game.

Then there is the mess he leaves behind him at OSU. 3 years ago he was hailed as the next big thing to come to OSU a legend in the making that will bring OSU another national championship and restore the pride that was taken away by the SEC in the previous two title games.

 

Now he is vilified, hated and most people wish that he had never come to Columbus. To the students and residents of Columbus he will be the man that brought down the institution that they grew to love. He cursed the school with so much tradition and pride and made it a mockery all over tattoos and cars. He brought shame to Ohio State University and left a stain that will remain on the campus long after he’s gone.

 

You think general managers and owners wont take a look at that whenever Pryor comes to tryout for a job?

 

Whatever the case maybe Pryor’s life in Columbus is over and he now joins the professional ranks of the United States of America. He will no longer be coddled, or worshipped. There will be no handouts or benefits for his services unless he performs to his talent level, which he hasn’t.

 

He will be picked at, overanalyzed and criticized for every little mistake that he makes from now until his playing days are over. All things considered he still has a bright future ahead and can still make something of himself.

 

However, what he left behind at Ohio State will never be forgotten. Terrelle Pryor came to Columbus to make an impact on the university and to have his name remembered for ever and ever.

 

He certainly did, but not in the way that he could’ve ever imagined.

 

Instead of blessing Buckeye Nation with his talent he cursed it with his immaturity and greed. He was supposed to be Ohio State’s quarterback Jesus; instead he became its Judas.


In The End Jim Tressel Had To Go

The Jim Tressel era came to an unfortunate end on Monday

It was only a matter of time. First the tattoo parlor scandal, then the fact that he withheld information from NCAA during its investigation, then the car scandal where everyone and their mother from the football team (literally) got a deal on a wide range of cars, which was against NCAA rules, then last week the final nail in the coffin former WR and doghouse lifer Ray Small confirming all of it by telling anyone that would listen to him…

So of course Jim Tressel resigned as Ohio State head coach, he has no choice but to at this point before it comes out that he knew where Osama Bin Laden was hiding all of these years.

Today’s resignation is another layer to an investigation that is slowly dragging Ohio State University into the third circle of hell in Dante’s football Inferno. With so much uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the program someone had to go to create some type of calm around the situation and why not start with the man under whose watch all of this happened.

Some will say Tressel is a coward for suspending his players then jumping ship when things got too hot. Listen, the guy’s not Pete Carroll, he was still standing there amid it all and taking every lump that OSU, the media and pop culture (those Tressel tattoo shirts are going to be a hot commodity come fall in Big Ten country) had to give him. His intensions were to stay at OSU and lead the program out onto the field once his five game vacation was over, however as the weeks progressed you started feeling that this mess was to deep for Tressel to just shrug off and walk back out onto the field and run “Tresselball” down our throats again.

The same players that Tressel tried to protect did him in.

There was too much was coming out about the insane amounts of illegal benefits that the Ohio State football players were receiving  and all of it was a flat out joke. Aaron Kniffer, a Columbus area car salesman gave out 50 heavily discounted cars to players and their family members, former linebacker Thaddeus Gibson got one for $0 (he says that he’s still paying it off, yeah, sure), Small came out last week and did his best Sammy the Bull and spread all of OSU’s wrongdoings across the school newspaper The Lantern (he later backtracked, of course he did), add that to the drama that’s occurred from December until today and you understand why Tressel had to walk away.

He had no choice. Gene Smith (who should share an equal share of this whole mess) wasn’t going anywhere, school President Gordon Gee wasn’t going to catch any flack for it, heck the players were even going to get a free pass.

(I’ve heard some comments today from some members of the media as to how can Tressel just walk away from his players like that? Um, his players put him in this position in the first place. On one hand Tressel should’ve had some idea of how much was going on behind his back as far as benefits and things of that nature were going on, but at the same time he’s not a babysitter. Whether he explained compliance and all that jazz to the absolute max isn’t the main issue here, guys still sold their personal belongings for other services illegally according to the NCAA rules, they received illegal benefits, cars and other things and they continued to do it. How does Tressel handle huge on the field expectations and even bigger off the field issues?

The downfall of Jim Tressel isn’t his ignorance to all of it happening; it is his players’ ignorance for starting of this drama in the first place. It’s weird but you could sort of feel all of this turn once Terrelle Pryor arrived on campus three years ago. Though he’s not the sole reason for this scandal he has been the main figure in it all and this is not the kind of attention Buckeye Nation was hoping for once he signed on the dotted line at national signing day 3 years ago.)

So for about the 89th time in the last six months after the 95th wrinkle in this on-going investigation we ask what now?

Do the suspended players look towards the NFL supplemental draft? How long will Luke Fickell stay at the helm as the new head man in Columbus? Will Gene Smith bring in a big name like Urban Meyer or Bob Stoops to take the reins? How bad will the NCAA come down on Ohio State? What will happen to Jim Tressel? And will other programs look at OSU and become more involved in stopping things like this from happening to their schools like it has at OSU, USC and maybe Auburn once we learn more about the Cam Newton scandal?

This isn’t a happy day in Columbus that’s for sure. Tressel was loved by the masses and praised by the students. Even with his shortcomings in two national championship games he dominated Michigan to the tune of 9-1 during his tenure and it seemed as though you couldn’t have a BCS game without Ohio State playing in it. The run that he had at OSU will not be matched for a long time, and even with this cloud of uncertainty hanging over the school the support for Tressel is still extremely high.

But he’s gone now. Whoever takes over as the next head coach at The Ohio State University has a lot of work to do to bring respectability and a good reputation back to the program and has to change its off the field image.

Today is just the beginning of will surely be the darkest period in the school’s historic existence. Wins and banners will be taken away as will scholarships and maybe future bowl appearances, and even though he is gone James Patrick Tressel will be associated with all of it.

He can’t stop any of it, just like he couldn’t stop any of the players who put him and the school in this predicament in the first place.


Shocked By Tressel’s Suspension? You Shouldn’t Be.

The Tressel suspension might only be the beginning of some bad things to come at Ohio State.

My reaction to the Jim Tressel suspension? A long yawn then I turned on some Notorious B.I.G. and thought about what to write about for Ash Wednesday.

Let’s be real, it’s the NCAA, everyone bends the rules in order to win games. More than graduation rates, more than “caring about the student athletes,” it’s about your job. If you don’t win games then you don’t get much longer to prove that you can.

For Jim Tressel he has long been criticized for being too conservative and not aggressive enough to be keep up with the rest of the NCAA including the SEC.

After his team’s impressive Rose Bowl victory he had some momentum and probably didn’t want this to leak out and ruin what could’ve been a national championship season. So he did what EACH AND EVERY COLLEGE COACH AND PROGRAM DOES, he covered up the truth for the sake of football gains for him and in the case of OSU, financial gains.

Wait a minute you ask, how can Ohio State University know about this when Tressel covered it up? If you don’t think that Gene Smith and Gordon Gee and all of the talking heads at the University knew about this at the same time that Tressel knew then I have a beach house in Iowa to sell you.

Of course they knew! Why do you think Smith flew back to Columbus so fast and put together a school made punishment for Tressel just as fast? They’re still trying to cover their tails.

As with all NCAA rule benders and breakers you will get caught and you will be punished. OSU thought this whole thing was sewed up back in December when Smith and the NCAA suspended the players while allowing them to play in the Sugar Bowl. Now that it turns out they were all lying to the NCAA? Well, it won’t be pretty.

Tressel will get, and deserves, more than the two games that he will be suspended, the school’s football program will be investigated in its entirety and if the NCAA finds that any member of the staff gave any player bus fare to get to the Ohio Union then they’re screwed.

But OSU knew that, they just didn’t care. They were like every single program in college, they did their share of dirt and like all programs they got caught and will suffer the consequences.

As it turns out, the events of December were just the beginning of what may turn out to be a much deeper problem with the Ohio State football program.

However, I’m not shocked. I’m just surprised this all didn’t happen sooner. It’s the NCAA what do you expect?


BYU Sticks To The Script, Like It Or Not

Brandon Davies suspension may seem silly to you and me, but its a big deal to BYU.

Brandon Davies was recently suspended by BYU for breaking it’s controversial honor code last week by engaging in premarital sex with his girlfriend.

Now before we all go into overdrive on how absolutely ridiculous we think this is we should consider a few things…

One is that BYU is a well known Mormon  college. They set standards that follow their belief in the church of Jesus Christ and latter day saints. So while it is an institution for learning and gaining training on certain careers it is a spiritual institution that reinforces it’s beliefs on those that follow the religion.

Two, every athlete that goes to BYU is aware of the honor code, which also prohibits things like the consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Once you sign your letter of intent you understand what your restrictions are and that you will be held to them with no grey areas.

Three, isn’t this what we beg college programs to be like?

In contrast to the Ohio State football controversy BYU actually holds it’s players to the responsibly that it expects from them.

OSU AD Gene Smith acted as if the OSU ballers were victims of ignorance when he knew that his players were regularly informed of the rules and regulations. The folks in Provo know better.

They expect all players to heed to the honor code and live in the presentable manner that is required. The business of the game doesn’t matter to them. They don’t care about BCS games, final four runs or any amount of possible boatloads of cash that could be acquired to benefit their departments. In the end it’s all about the rules plain and simple.

Brandon Davies knew this and shouldn’t be shocked with the result.

The flip side to this is the sheer absurdity of the ruling to people like you and I.

Lacedarius Dunn hits his girlfriend, playing. Cam Newton receives $200,000 to play in the SEC, playing. A.J. Price stole school laptops, played, This kid has sex with his girlfriend and can’t play basketball anymore, talk about unfair.

BYU's way of handling rule breakers should be copied by most institutions.

I understand the honor code and why it’s in place, but it’s silly to punish a teenager for doing what most teenagers his age do.

I could think of one million reasons to kick a kid off his team and engaging in sexual intercourse with your girlfriend is right next to drinking a red bull.

I have to ask BYU do they really think that their athletes and students don’t indulge in an occasional rum and coke or sexual romp? If they do then I got some ocean front property in Nebraska to sell them.

It’s college and their a bunch of teenagers couped up in a few houses across a few acres. Stuff like this happens and to punish someone for it is silly to me.

Does Davies still go to church? Is he planning a mission? Does he still represent the university well in public and in the classroom? If he does, suspending him for this is even more foolish because ‘s a  good hearted guy who has is head on straight and has his priorities on point.

Unfortunately he won’t be bringing his game to the court. Davies and his 11.1 points and 6.2 rebounds a game will sit at home for the season and BYU basketball will suffer.

Without him BYU got trounced by New Mexico 82-64 last night and their dreams of a number one seed and a final four berth are in doubt.

This isn’t the biggest deal to BYU though. To them it’s about sticking to the rules and honoring you word.

While you may not agree with a lot of rules to their honor code,you have to respect how they enforce it.


The Corruption That Is The NCAA

The handling of the OSU violations is both embarassing, and quite normal in the realm of reality in the NCAA

So here is Ohio State AD Gene Smith at the podium, taking question about the suspensions of six of his football players a day after the story breaks. Smith looks cool calm and collected answering questions from the press when he utters the statement of a lifetime; “We were not explicit with these young men that you could not resell items that we give you. We began to be more explicit in November 2009.”

 

One of my good friends, DJ, used to play baseball at OSU as a backup catcher. He has some great stories of things he went through from his playing days. Some G rated, some R rated, they never cease to draw interest from me at anytime.

 

Last week after the suspicious suspension of 5 prominent football players at OSU DJ told me about the rules of compliance at the school and how student athletes, like the football and baseball teams, have to sit through each meeting at the beginning an end of each quarter. According to him if you don’t sit through the meetings then you cant compete in any athletic competition. So it makes me wonder just how in the world the school’s AD Gene Smith says that the troubled stars were not properly instructed on the rules of the game.

 

The rundown goes as follows; last week six players at Ohio State were suspended for five games next year, but allowed to play in this year’s Sugar Bowl (more on that later), for selling their Big Ten title rings and gold pants jewels from the annual Michigan game for money used for tattoos, which under NCAA guidelines are listed as receiving improper benefits.

 

Its not just Joe Dirt off of the practice squad either, it was quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron, Wide Receiver Devier Posey, Left Tackle Mike Adams and defensive Solomon Thomas who were the offenders. All except Thomas are offensive starters who lead the team in specific categories and make the Buckeyes go on offense. Losses like those would likely kill the Buckeyes chances in a game like the Sugar Bowl, where our tale of corruption takes a nice little turn.

 

Just how exactly can you suspend five guys for the first five games next season but have then play in the last game of this season? The sense made by the NCAA is little if there is any at all.

Gene Smith's reasoning for the players transgressions is proof that the institutions are more than liable for their players behavior.

 

NCAA is protecting the players for money reasons because their losses hurt the game on the field, which could hurt ratings and sponsorships. Pryor and company caught a lucky break for being the privileged student athletes that they are and for the game that they are in. if this was the Little Caesar’s Bowl trust me they wouldn’t be a part of it.

 

What does this say for all parties involved though? Think about how this affects the players, OSU, Jim Tressel, the NCAA and how they handle the situations at hand as well as the rules.

 

For the NCAA it makes you wonder if they really care about the rules at all. They suspended A.J. Green for selling is jersey at the beginning of the year and they make minor judgments here and there, but as far as doing the right thing the NCAA has done a poor job of that.

 

They Let Cam Newton play on even though he more than likely received $200,000 to play at Auburn, they were so lenient on Jeremiah Masoli’s arrest and easy transfer that it was laughable that he found a school with the right “graduate program” and could avoid sitting out a year and they have yet to address the issues of arrests and criminal mishaps at Georgia and Florida. Its like they’re picking their spots on who to go after and make the rule book stretch out further and further for certain programs like Ohio State.

 

Speaking of Ohio State what does this say about how they coddle their superstar athletes? Gene Smith’s ridiculous explanation for his students’ behavior is the main reason why these guys act out the way that they do. If the AD and coach and school can’t put the responsibility on the shoulders of their players why shouldn’t they do what they want? To say that his students didn’t know the rules is A. a lie and B. just plain silly. If the baseball players, lacrosse players and soccer players know what to and not to do than so should the football team, no exceptions.

 

Then there are the players at hand especially Pryor. For a guy that was as highly touted as Pryor he has done nothing to show that he is worth the hype. Pryor and his fellow mates now sit at a crossroads where they could leave for the NFL because all of them are eligible, but their draft stocks will be lower than what they could’ve been had they stayed for their senior season.

 

For Pryor especially he probably wont get a sniff at quarterback because he’s nowhere near ready to get under center in the NFL. It’s funny because when I watch Newton play I see the player that Pryor should’ve been. Newton is the complete package of strength, speed, accuracy and instincts that Pryor should’ve been. Watching #2 in Auburn makes me look at #2 in Columbus with great shame. Pryor could’ve been one of the best but never fully immersed himself in the game. It was all about the attention for Pryor and now in likely his final season that attention will have prevented from being so much more and make him a huge disappointment.

One final disappointment to end Pryor's disappointing career.

 

For me this is about a lack of respect in all areas from Smith, the NCAA but more importantly the players. I’m a proud Ohio State grad; I respect this school and what it embodies more than most things. To watch these guys sell their rings and golden pants charms, which the older players cherish like their children, means that they don’t have respect for the institution that pays their way through school or for the other kids that walk through The Oval or down High Street on a daily basis. To put money for tattoos over career and your institution is unforgiveable to me. It shows what kind of guys they really are and it makes me furious.

 

(I had a facebook status about this actually where I said (paraphrasing) that most NCAA institutions cheat, it happens, but you have to smart about it. For these guys to be this open and dumb about it makes me even more furious. You sat through those meetings, you knew the rules and you still didn’t care. Another reason why Smith’s statement ticked me off, THEY KNEW! He knows too, but in the end it all doesn’t matter because that’s college sports. Its not about academics or school pride or tradition anymore its all about money. That’s why Nebraska is in the Big Ten, why Josh Selby gets only 8 games for being paid to play amateur games and why Pryor and Newton get to play in the BCS money games. They NCAA knows what they did wrong, but they don’t care, it’s all about the money.)

 

However you look at it it’s one big mess. The NCAA gets its money game, Pryor gets one more chance to show off his limitless, but limited, talents, the players will get away unscathed, Gene Smith sweeps it under the rug with no responsibility and everyone is happy. That’s the way it works. It’s like the movie Casino; everyone is crooked in someway whether you’re building a casino with mob money and skimming it off of the top, or your athletes are doing illegal activities that you know about yet your reaping the benefits of their star and turning away. That’s how it is.