Tag Archives: ncaa

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.


The Issue With National Signing Day

Here's to hoping Jadeveon Clowney matched the hype.

I used to wonder who in the world these young recruits were that being hailed as the next saviors of their program. I wondered how do guys like Carmelo Anthony, Jason Williams, Tim Tebow and Reggie Bush get all of this pub and hype when a fraction of the population in their state has seen them.

I wondered how guys like Ron Powlus and Felipe Lopez were considered huge busts after their collegiate careers when I never understood the hype to begin with.

Let’s just that now that National Signing Day has become the most pointless new day in sports I kind of wish I still felt the way I used to.

Signing Day has moved past the NFL Draft Combine as the most pointless and overhyped sporting event in sports. You run out a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds who are being touted as the next big thing BEFORE PLAYING A COLLEGE GAME! These guys are made deities before they step out on the field on Saturdays and are expected to become superstars immediately. Anyone else see something wrong with that?

Take today for example: the nations #1 recruit Jadeveon Clowney held a press conference two weeks after Signing Day to make his decision on which school he was attending. He sat in front of the media with three hats his mother and brother and in LeBron James fashion decided that he was taking his talents to Columbia, South Carolina and be a Gamecock. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or shake my head.

All this does is bring extra attention to a young man who we don’t even know will make it past the college game and into the NFL. This is the scenario for a guy like Terrelle Pryor who was an incredibly hyped player who was set to be the next big thing at Ohio State and now probably won’t be an NFL quarterback because he isn’t that good.

Mitch Mustain was supposed to be the next big thing... unfortunately it never worked.

It’s not only the case for Pryor but the top 150 as well. The Rivals and ESPN 150 is nothing more than a sad dose of reality when you analyze all of those can’t miss talents and see where they are. When you look at these lists you see guys like Cam Newton who matched his expectations and Nick Fairley who exceeded. Yet the cases of who didn’t make are much more striking.

A few years ago Mitch Mustain was to be the next big thing at Arkansas as the local boy who was going to carry the Hogs to new heights. Four years later his eligibility is done after transferring to USC and failing to rise up the depth chart and last week was arrested for possession of marijuana. Not that glamorous is it?

Blame ESPN for all of this and Sports Illustrated for that matter. This whole new movement started with the fascination behind LeBron James as a high school senior. Before the SI cover high school seniors were like diamonds in the rough. They were treasures that were concealed waiting for that chance to shine in the right way and that’s in the actual game. After the SI cover James’ high school games were being featured as a prime-time event on ESPN with Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas. Then came ESPNU games featuring high school talents like Gerald Henderson, Wayne Ellington, Greg Oden and others. Then came National Signing Day and then came questions like today when Tom Luginbill was asked about his potential draft status in the NFL in three years… LET THE GUY PLAY VANDERBILT FIRST THEN LET’S TALK ABOUT THE NFL!!!

If the NCAA says it’s about protecting players and the student athlete itself, then why are they allowing players and programs to do this self promotion with teenagers and push their product? It’s allowing agents and other forces to come in and get in these kids ears early and puts these programs at risk for sanctions by the NCAA. It’s a show that leaves these kids open to larger amounts of scrutiny and failure.

When Kwame Brown fell flat on his face in the NBA as a draft bust it was ok because he was a professional and he knows that his face will be in the limelight as a high draft pick. Subjecting high school athletes going to college to that same potential treatment is unfair because of their amateur status.

Unfortunately were past that point. This is the new era of high school athletics. Were now looking for the next LeBron James, Bryce Harper or Jadeveon Clowney and when we find them, no matter the age, were going to see them on magazines and on ESPN. I kind of wish I didn’t know until these guys put the jerseys on with their colleges on the front again. It was better that way.


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.