By Brian Hanley
(CBS) — Gene Smith, the clueless Ohio State athletic director, shouldn’t be the only one “disappointed with the NCAA’s decision” Tuesday.
The NCAA hit Ohio State with a one-year bowl ban and other penalties on Tuesday for a scandal that involved eight players taking a total of $14,000 in cash and tattoos in exchange for jerseys, rings and other Buckeyes memorabilia. Tipped to the violations, then-coach Jim Tressel failed to speak up.
Smith’s disappointed? How about the players who are still bound to the now non-Bowl-eligible Buckeyes next year?
Smith insisted, since Tressel’s lies led Ohio State to be hit with a laundry list of NCAA sanctions, that a Bowl ban wouldn’t be included.
Yet, the “failure to monitor” finding by the NCAA–that’s you Geno and Gordon Gee, the OSU president whose public sucking up to Tressel was an embarrassment–put the Bowl-ban in play.
Here’s the problem: By NCAA rules, only Ohio State players with one year of eligibility remaining can transfer without having to sit out a season.
Any player who was not involved with the Tattoo U infractions Tressel covered up should be able to go. From freshmen up, and include high school players who are rethinking their signatures on an OSU letter-of-intent.
And, according to Score college football guru Gerry Dinardo, any other school’s coach who tries to recruit those who can bolt without penalty must inform Ohio State they are talking to the kid.
As much as the idea of Michigan or any other Big Ten power poaching talent from the Buckeyes would delight, the guess here is Urban Meyer won’t have to take much time from counting cash his stomach-churning $40 million deal to field phone calls from his conference colleagues.
Why would Brady Hoke or Brent Bielema want to deal with the coaching fraternity fallout for taking on a player for one year?
However, if all OSU players who wanted out could simply ship out—after all, those full scholarships are really renewed annually at the school’s discretion–more would likely make the move.
Same goes for all the Penn State players who are fed up with the circus surrounding their team since the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke. They should be able to get out without any red tape.
Fair is fair for the “student-athletes” the NCAA allegedly is all about.
“We are surprised and disappointed with the NCAA’s decision,” Smith said in a statement. “However, we have decided not to appeal the decision because we need to move forward as an institution. We recognize that this is a challenging time in intercollegiate athletics. Institutions of higher education must move to higher ground, and Ohio State embraces its leadership responsibilities and affirms its long-standing commitment to excellence in education and integrity in all it does.”
Then try to explain OSU sycophant-in-chief Gee’s gushing that he hoped Tressel “wouldn’t fire” the school when you first slapped the liar on the wrist with a suspension before the heat was turned up.
Nope, you and the rest of the OSU “brain trust” tried to douse the scandal before all of Tressel’s and the football program’s scheming came to light.
After the initial tattoo scandal, the school and the NCAA discovered two additional problems. Three players were suspended just before the start of the season for accepting $200 from booster Bobby DiGeronimo, and midway through the Buckeyes’ 6-6 season it was revealed that several players had been paid too much for too little work on summer jobs — supplied by the same booster. He has been disassociated from the program.
Tressel, forced out in the wake of the scandal, was hit with a five-year “show-cause” order which all but prevents him from being a college coach during that time.
“Of great concern to the committee was the fact that the former head coach became aware of these violations and decided not to report the violations,” the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions wrote in its report.
Greg Sankey, associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference and a committee member, said Tressel’s failure to act was, “considered very serious and, frankly, very disappointing.”
Want frankness? Tressel lied and the university was OK with it until the NCAA wasn’t.
So why not have the Buckeye band dot the “i” in hypocrisy along with the next halftime script “Ohio.”