The scandal that blew up this week at Ohio State should not surprise anybody who has followed college athletics over the past 30 years. Schools all across the country have been cheating, lying and generally looking for any way possible to skirt the rules at any cost as long as it puts a winning team on the field. The advent of social media and the access to just about anything that the Internet provides us would make it seemingly impossible to actually get away with breaking the rules. That, more than anything, is why I am just dumbfounded at the way Jim Tressel, Gordon Gee and Gene Smith have responded to this. Here are some of the boneheaded statements each man has made over the past few days:
Tressel: "It was obviously tremendously concerning,……Quite honestly, I was scared." as well as “If you all of the sudden sit down some players who have earned the opportunity to play, there are a whole set of new questions which are going to be asked," Ummmm, isn’t that the point Coach? Aren’t you supposed to be asking them? Were you afraid of the answers they’d give?? So the fact that they’ve “earned the opportunity to play” somehow puts them above the rules??
Smith: "All the speculation about him being terminated is pure speculation. This case, in my view, does not warrant it." So knowingly lying to the administration AND the NCAA about rules infractions and allowing the suspected players to play for an entire season without penalty doesn’t warrant termination? RichRod got his ass handed to him in the court of public opinion for allowing players to practice more than 20 hours per week and not being “rules compliant”.
Gee: "Let me be very clear. I'm just hoping the coach doesn't dismiss me." So he’s basically telling us that the football coach at Ohio State has more power than the school president?? Do you think the president of “Little Sisters of the Poor” would act like this? Can you even imagine for a split-second Mary Sue Coleman or Dave Brandon making comments like Gee and Smith??
Ohio State had reported to the NCAA more than 375 violations (Maurice Claret, Troy Smith, etc.) -- the most of any of the 69 Football Bowl Subdivision schools that provided documents to the newspaper through public-records requests so any more talk about sweater-vest and the rest of the administration at OSU being squeaky-clean is out the door now, if it wasn’t already. The comments by these 3 as well as the 2 game suspension they handed down to Tressel as punishment clearly shows that they think this is just a bump in the road (I’m sure they’ll really miss him for those 2 home games against Akron and Toledo). The OSU school newspaper The Lantern has even called for his termination in an op-ed piece. After seeing the related e-mails Tressel wrote, there is no way the NCAA is going to let Gee and Smith get away with what amounts to a 2 game vacation for Tressel. Like the butler states during one of my favorite Three Stooges episodes where the boys have wreaked havoc with the plumbing, drywall and electricity…
“This house has sho’ gone crazy!!”