Mizzou grad Pat Forde of ESPN takes dead aim in his assessment of the so-called punishment handed down by the NCAA for five Ohio State football players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who were caught selling championship rings, game gear and personal awards for cash.
The players were suspended for the first five games of next season, including the demanding opener against Akron, but will be allowed to play in the BCS Sugar Bowl against Arkansas — and then probably bolt for the NFL.
One barrel was aimed at the NCAA:
The NCAA has done it again, producing a ruling that defies common sense and provokes suspicions about ulterior motives. Even as the organization has taken admirable steps in terms of aggressive enforcement and attempted transparency, it still has a unique ability to leave the public baffled and skeptical.
The (Cam) Newton ruling was widely ridiculed for the loophole that allowed the quarterback to play in the SEC and BCS title games — two of the most important games of the year in terms of revenues and ratings. In the open-and-shut Ohio State case, the NCAA is delaying punishment long enough for the Buckeyes to play in another game that packs a huge revenues-and-ratings payload. …
Commerce aside, deferring punishment until after the biggest game of the season doesn’t seem like the greatest deterrent to future rule breaking. Especially in this instance, when the rule breakers have the option to go pro instead of ever paying the piper. Seems to me that if these guys were busted for breaking the rules, the punishment should be rendered in a timely fashion. Like now. No matter how inconvenient it might be, or how “unique” an “opportunity” it is to play in a bowl.
Another barrel was aimed at the players:
If they had a full appreciation of what it means to play for Ohio State, and to play in a bowl, and to be part of a tradition much larger than themselves, they wouldn’t have sold what they sold. The championship rings would mean too much. So would the gold pants, which are small jewelry awards given to every Buckeye for beating Michigan. …
The bottom line is this: These players slapped Ohio State tradition in the face, for a profit.
And coaching staff was hit by a few pellets:
I’d imagine a large segment of the Buckeyes fan base is insulted by their actions. Some of them probably would rather not see them play against Arkansas. Jim Tressel has the opportunity to display the guts and integrity the NCAA didn’t show by sitting the players on his own.
But he was given an out — a handy, trendy out.
We can only hope history repeats itself in the Sugar Bowl. Ohio State has never beaten an SEC team in a bowl game. Ever. Pig, sooey!