The Curious Case Against Ohio State Football

The vigor with which some media outlets (especially ESPN)have pursued the NCAA allegations against the Ohio State football program are usually reserved only for those who have committed capital crimes or mass murder.

Ohio State finally gets its day in NCAA court this morning when athletic director Gene Smith, deposed head coach Jim Tressel and a team of presumably high-priced legal eagles travel to Indianapolis to meet with the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

Since you are reading this, I will assume you know why the Buckeyes are on their way to Indianapolis, but on the off chance you have been on safari, taken a trip to Mars or take for gospel some of the mud that has been slung over the past six months, here in a nutshell is what has brought us to this point.

Five Ohio State players traded some personal items – championship rings, jerseys, etc. – for tattoos in 2009. No big deal really since many young men in this era seem intent upon graffiti-ing their bodies. Unfortunately, that sort of bartering is frowned upon by the NCAA. Worse yet, the players' tattoo parlor of choice was under FBI surveillance in a federal drug trafficking case.

In April 2010, Tressel received e-mails regarding the incident and because he did not forward that information to Smith or share it with the NCAA, he was the biggest crook since Al Capone and the coach was later forced to resign/retire.

Despite the breathless hand-wringing of some, that's pretty much it. No more, no less.

One of the players, quarterback Terrelle Pryor, had other issues that ran afoul of the NCAA and Ohio State had little choice but to suspend him for the entire 2011 season. When Pryor discovered that, he left the program and made himself available for the NFL via the supplemental draft.

Meanwhile, OSU tailback Boom Herron, offensive tackle Mike Adams, wide receiver DeVier Posey and defensive end Solomon Thomas remain and will sit out the first five games of this season, a slate that includes a crucial road game at Miami (Fla.) and the Big Ten season opener at home against Michigan State.

One of the winningest coaches in the history of the program has been shamed and shunned, the three-year starting quarterback has been run off and four other starters on what could be considered a national championship contender will be unavailable for nearly one-third of the season. Add vacating the entire 2010 season, including a Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas, as well as an ongoing period of NCAA probation and the penalties seem a lot more than a mere slap on the wrist.

Yet, it's not nearly enough for the sanctimonious lot that predicted Draconian penalties and want their pound of flesh as vindication.

Read the rest by clicking on this link: Rea's Day Blog: Aug. 12.

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