I waited a week to write this blog. I wanted to give it some time to sink in and try to take away any bias that I may have; being a Michigan fan. It’s funny when this whole scandal started to develop with the tattoos I had a feeling it was going to snowball into something bigger. Every Big Ten fan knew OSU didn’t play by the rules, in today’s NCAA I don’t think it’s possible. If you truly want to compete for the National Championship you have to bend rules in your favor it seems; here’s looking at you SEC. Bending the rules such as lower academic standards, improper benefits, or the ability to give excess scholarships (with the ability to take away the worse prospects when it’s time to make cuts). Before this year I would have said the Big Ten was probably “the cleanest conference”. That unfortunately took a huge hit this year, resulting in the rest of nation now either laughing at us (OSU) or just frankly being appalled (PSU). To be fair I am not ignorant, I know every big school breaks rule, hell there is an old saying “If you’re not cheating you’re not trying”, but there will always be schools across the nation notorious for such things. It has evolved from the Bo and Woody days, where honor and tradition meant something; it’s now about the benjamins and presenting false images of wholesomeness.
Anyways I have digressed from the main point, when the NCAA finally laid the supposed “smack down” on OSU for “loss of institution control”; I came away disappointed. Now to be fair I want OSU to be good, I had no satisfaction beating an unranked OSU. It just felt like something was missing to it. I want to take goliath out at his peak, not when his knees were already taken out from under him. I also believe if you’re charged with a crime that you deserve to pay the price. Now what was the price the NCAA deemed as fair? Nine scholarships over five years, one year post season ban, and removal of all 2010 records. Now OSU fans will tell you that was an excessive punishment for players receiving discounted tattoos/cars, especially when they factor in the loss of Tressell and Pryor. It just seems like a slap on the wrist though. What is two scholarships per year really amount to. They lose two 3 star recruits a year. The rule was put in place to prevent any outside influence of players to come to a school. The only financial benefits a student athlete are scholarships with housing/meal plans. There is also this irony that OSU still gets to play this year’s bowl game, seem like a familiar theme from last year. You know the one where Terrelle Pryor, Boom Harren, and tattoo co. got to play and beat Arkansas in a BCS bowl game last year; even though next year they had a 5 game suspension. The NCAA is protecting money making bowls. Let’s be honest the storylines are endless with OSU v. Florida; what has been renamed the “Urban Bowl”. If the NCAA was really about punishing the team, shouldn’t they had to give up going to the post-season this year, seems odd.
The story doesn’t just end there though. We have a recent example of a team that had a “loss of institution control” in USC. The backstory was Reggie Bush took money from agents in exchange for him being their client once he graduated. An assistant coach was involved in setting the two up. They were hit with two year bowl game suspension along with 10 scholarships lost over the next three years. All records of Reggie Bush or any team he was on were for the most part removed from the books. So for the same labeled penalty how did two schools receive different penalties. Shouldn’t there be some sort of standardized form of punishment for schools being labeled as losing institutional control. How does a coach covering for multiple students, who were receiving improper benefits from car dealers and tattoo artists, deserve less severe punishment than one football player, who got improper benefits from an agent? It doesn’t make a sense since they both were labeled the same crime. So the question is what was the real difference between the two cases? It lies in how they reacted once everything came to light. USC acted arrogantly and almost dared to come at them with whatever they had. OSU admitted guilt off the bat and focused the blame on Tressell and Pryor as the scape goats. They also very lightly punished themselves thinking that would suffice the NCAA and if not the NCAA would add very little more to give the public and image that the NCAA did something. So when OSU now comes out saying it is shocked that the NCAA is banning from a post season next season it’s almost laughable. They knew it was coming they are just playing to the NCAA’s ego. Otherwise if they were “so shocked” and if it was “so unfair” why did they not challenge it at all? That is the thing that’s so appalling about this whole situation shouldn’t one you have been determined to commit a specified crime it should be the same punishment across the board. In our judicial system if you are charged of committing a specified crime it’s generally a uniform punishment that can be modified later on based on good behavior depending on severity of crime. The NCAA has flipped the script on this notion. Halfheartedly fess up to your mistake then lightly slap your wrist, and for the most part the NCAA will let you walk; maybe add a little more to show they are “enforcing”. It’s a joke and the system needs to change. OSU should be thankful, because any other judiciary body would of given them a worse sentence.