The Ohio State Debacle
Written by Curt Popejoy on 12/23/2010
So yesterday I am checking my Twitter feed and I start getting rumors that Ohio State football players are "selling" their autographs in exchange for tattoos. To be honest, I disregarded it, because whether it happened or not, the time it takes for anything to come of these things is long enough for me to move onto something else and come back to it later.
Well, later is today. Now I am listening to ESPN radio and it comes out that Ohio State Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor sold a bunch of memorabilia including a Big Ten Championship Ring to someone yet to be determined. Along with Pryor, you have Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas also were peddling their wears illegally.
What the NCAA has determined is these guys get to sit for 5 games. The rub is those 5 games start at the beginning of the 2011 season. I haven't heard everything on this, so sue me if I missed something, but there seems to be so much wrong with this situation.
First is the bowl game. Why on Earth are these guys getting to play in the Sugar Bowl against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The NCAA claims that this is proper protocol and not out of the ordinary. If you believe that, loan me some money so I can buy the statue of liberty. Why are these guys going to play in the Sugar Bowl? I will venture a guess that it's about money. All the money bet in Vegas, all the money ESPN has put into featuring this game, and all the money that stands to be lost if these guys don't get to play. Don't sugar coat all of this with some sort of shadowy rules. Dollars make things happen and in this case there is a whole ton of money involved here. Anyone who thinks this is “for the fans” I hope you mean the ones who work for ESPN and the ones who bet on the game, because they are the only ones anyone cares about in this. If I am the University of Arkansas I am livid by this decision.
This whole "I didn't know" excuse is wearing thin and is setting a dangerous precedent. Even Ohio State is coming out and saying they weren't properly educated on this, that once they are given this stuff they cannot sell it. I've never played college football, but there seems to be some very simple logic here that sets them apart from other students.
These guys have access to things normal students do not. If I want to sell some video games for cash at Gamestop and I play football that's fine, as can any random English major. But that English major doesn't have a Big Ten title ring, and he certainly doesn't have something that he could take to a wealthy booster and turn it into an overpriced "purchase" to help line the pockets of a student athlete. These players are integral parts of this Buckeye team and who's to say they weren't bought off to stay at school? Sell a $2,000 ring for $50,000 to stay at school? Don't kid yourself that this isn't reasonable. And because it is, is why the rule is in place.
What happens now? I know a lot of people think this will send Pryor running to the NFL, but I don't. These kids are selfish plain and simple. they have been told their whole life they operate outside the rules and the real world. This is another example of them stretching those boundaries. These guys didn't care they could potentially damaging their team, and so why would they care what happens next? Now, what is Pryor going to do? He's probably going to submit his name to the NFL, get a 5th round grade and return to school. It's not like the season will end for Ohio State while these guys are out for 5 games. There are really only 2 of those 5, against the University of Miami and Michigan State, they can't win with their backups. But 2 losses in the first two months probably means no Big BCS title game. But Pryor wants to get paid, just like he did for his baubles, so I think he'll stay in school, do his time and try and improve his draft stock.
Overall I am just agitated with this whole situation. Pryor and these kids are dopes. Selfish dopes. But they got bailed out by the NCAA and ESPN so their team still has a fair shot in their Bowl game. What a load of crap. I hope at some point the truth about who bought this stuff and what they paid for it comes out, because that is more telling to me than the act itself. And if Ohio State is going to fall on their swords that this is somehow their fault, then they should give them the death penalty for just being dumb enough to say it. This whole situation puts a glaring spotlight on two things. First is just how money driven the NCAA is, and second, what kind of power the Mother Ship has over it.
It also just shows just what an obscene waste all this scholarship money is to athletes who are only in school to bide their time before the NFL. They always say that giving one money just makes them more of who they are and not change them. For these young men, I think we are seeing their future before us. You all know I’ve never been one to complain about how crooked NCAA football is. I am more aggravated about how the rare public instance is handled and this is another example of that.
Last Edited: 12/23/2010