Here’s time #8,756 I’ve said this – the NCAA is a joke.
It didn’t exactly take the Amazing Kreskin to see this coming when star quarterback Terrelle Pryor and three other offensive starters were cited by the NCAA last December for selling rings, jerseys and other memorabilia as underclassmen. But 6 months later, Ohio State vacates all 12 wins from the 2010 season, including the Sugar Bowl win, and placing itself on two years’ probation as penance for fielding multiple ineligible players. Now, they’ve announced Pryor would have been ineligible for all of 2011 and he has been banned from all contact with the team for 5 years.
The Buckeyes’ self-flagellation comes as part of their official response to accusations of major NCAA violations involving both the ineligible players; Pryor, running back Dan Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams, and reserve defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, not to mention disgraced former head coach Jim Tressel’s season-long cover-up.
Am I supposed to be impressed by this?
First of all, it’s about 6 months too late. When Ohio State first tried to keep their Bucknuts out of the NCAA deep-fryer last December, all they were doing was avoiding the inevitable. The thinking was if you let the NCAA get its pound of flesh up front it, they could get away with a slap on the wrist and maintain the hope the NCAA would be placated and not care to do anymore digging.
That means by its very nature it is disingenuous, and it didn’t work. Granted, they managed to keep the offending players eligible for the Sugar Bowl and they kept the regular seasons wins intact.
However, everything backfired once Jim “Cheatypants McSweatervest” Tressel got caught in a season-long cover-up, which is the only reason the NCAA even decided to return to the case at all.
Now, Tressel is gone, Pryor has been banished, and the Buckeye house of cards keeps falling. The first go-around at self-punishment was all about avoiding the record books being wiped clean. Well, that’s going to happen anyway, and it begs a question. By banishing Pryor, now what is Ohio State trying to avoid?
Think about it. Right now, Ohio State is still getting off light. Even if the 2010 season is erased from the books, they still get to pocket the cash those games generated. Plus, in light of the heavy scholarship losses and two-year bowl ban the NCAA dropped on USC last year for essentially the same kind of violations, an eraser to a record book is the aforementioned wrist slap.
Ohio State is again hoping it can avoid harsher (and deserved) penalties by looking “proactive” and by throwing Tressel under the proverbial bus. The problem is the NCAA seems to be buying this bilge. Ohio State is singing a big song to the NCAA to the tune of admitting major violations of NCAA regulations, but in the same stanza claims they should not face harsh punishment because no Ohio State official other than Tressel was aware of player violations.
Now for the big question: since when did “self-punishment” become acceptable? I ask because I really could have used this twenty or so years ago. There are plenty of times I would have copped to breaking curfew if it meant nobody found out what I was doing at 2 a.m. For me as a kid, that moment of truth always came when it was time to sneak back into the house. For Ohio State, they get to try to sneak into the house next month when they have a hearing in front of the NCAA. That will be the moment of truth; will the Buckeyes’ self-flagellation be enough, or will the NCAA actually hold them accountable?