May 31, 2011

But everybody's doing it...

Jim Tressel, who guided Ohio State to its first national title in 34 years, resigned Monday amid NCAA violations from a tattoo-parlor scandal that sullied the image of one of the country's top football programs.

The resignation comes nearly three months after Ohio State called a news conference to announce it has suspended Tressel for two games -- later increasing the ban to five games to coincide with the players' punishment -- and fined him $250,000 for knowing his players had received improper benefits from the owner of a local tattoo parlor. The school said at the time it was "very surprised and disappointed" in Tressel.

Wow. A big time college football program where players get illegal benefits? I'm sure that has never, ever, EVER happened before. Ever.

Tressel's abdication was yesterday's "OMG WTF!?!" story in sports. But it shouldn't come as a surprise. The past year has seen a laundry list of violations, violations, and more violations pegged to the Buckeyes.

I kind of feel for Tressel here. Sure he pulled a scumbag move trying to keep this all under wraps. But he was just trying to save his job and save the program from disgrace. He fell on the sword for his players and program.

Normally I wouldn't have a problem with players taking illegal benefits. With all the money that universities make off their football programs, these guys should be getting a little more of the cut. A 40K per year scholarship to a university is nice, but there's a reason that nine out of ten players major in joke subjects. To them, football is more important than school. And when you don't have a whole lot of spending money, you'll take whatever handouts you can get.

But the players at Ohio State were completely idiotic.

According to a Sports Illustrated report set to appear in this week's magazine (can't wait), a whopping 28 players allegedly traded memorabilia or autographs for money and tattoos since 2002.

I get that its tough for some of these kids to get money. But you're stupid if you don't think selling something like your helmet, jersey or autograph (where your number or name is right there) and won't get caught. These kids screwed over Tressel the program, and themselves. All parties involved deserve whatever punishment they get.

The saddest part of all this? Programs have, and will, continue to sit idly by and let this happen despite any sanctions that might come. After all: "you aren't breaking the rules unless you get caught". Makes you wonder which program is next on the NCAA sanction chopping block.

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