The first half of the 2011 season ain’t going to be pretty.

That’s because five boneheads thought they could cash in on Gold Pants, championship rings and game-used jerseys and shoes. And more importantly, because Ohio State’s athletics department apparently didn’t do enough to let those boneheads know about the ins and outs of improper benefits.

AD Gene Smith is going over the NCAA’s findings at a news conference right now, but the release from the NCAA pretty much says all I need to hear. The facts:

  • Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron, Mike Adams, Devier Posey and Solomon Thomas all must sit out the first five games of the season, for selling Gold Pants — the gold charms team members receive from the university when the team beats Michigan — Big Ten championship rings, and stuff they wore during games.
  • A sixth player, linebacker Jordan Whiting, must miss one game.
  • All six players have to make financial restitution, ranging from $150 to $2,500, to an NCAA-approved charity.

Let’s recap: Pryor. Posey. Herron. Adams. What do you think the offense is going to look like through September of next year? Sure, as Jim Tressel will say, we’ve got some guys, but those four are all-conference performers with all-American potential. The first two games of that stretch are Akron and Toledo; the last three are at Miami — and not the one in Oxford, Ohio, boys and girls — and against Colorado and a Michigan State team that very badly will want to prove this year was not a fluke.

Anyone else cringing at the thought of a 3-2 start? And if Colorado is better, howsabout 2-3?

Bottom line No. 1: The players should know better. Yes, many of these guys were in junior high school when Troy Smith had to sit out a couple games for taking improper benefits in 2005, but that’s still a shining definition of “improper benefits” and what the consequences should be. And it happened just five years ago.

Bottom line No. 2: Check this quote from AD Smith:

“We were not as explicit with our student-athlete education as we should have been in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years regarding the sale of apparel, awards and gifts issued by the athletics department,” Smith said. “We began to significantly improve our education in November of 2009 to address these issues. After going through this experience, we will further enhance our education for all our student-athletes as we move forward.”

I have questions, Gene.

  • Why wasn’t the athletics department doing comprehensive compliance education in 2007, 2008 or 2009? That’s just one season removed from Troy Smith’s suspension; it seems to me there would have been a need.
  • Is there not a class on what student-athletes can and cannot do? I would think that’s something that every scholarship athlete should have to sit through the minute he or she first sets foot on campus — and then again every single fall.
  • Why the change in November 2009? Did something else happen? Should we be waiting for worse news?

I don’t want to leave Tressel out of this either. It’s unrealistic to expect a coaching staff to know the comings and goings of 100-plus football players. It’s not, however, unrealistic to expect that a coach like Tressel — who is know for meticulous, thorough preparation — would make sure his players know the specifics of what is acceptable under the NCAA rules and what is not.

The suspensions don’t take place during the upcoming Sugar Bowl — and I’m not sure I give a shit. I wrote on Uncle Crappy a couple days ago — half-jokingly — about the conflict I’m feeling about the Winter Classic hockey game in Pittsburgh on New Year’s Day and the Sugar Bowl.

I was excited about both, and my superstitious side has been growing uncomfortable with mixing mojo as the games approach. This could change, but if you were to ask me right now, I’d say watching the Sugar Bowl doesn’t seem especially exciting.


2 Responses to “furious.”

  1. 1 James Bond Shaken-Not-Stirred
    December 24, 2010 at 11:35 am

    We continue to see incidents like this throughout college football. Perhaps, when enough exposure has surfaced, an enterprising attorney will be inspired to pursue a class action against the NCAA. The notion that this is amateur sport is absurd. However, published rules are to be followed. Rules are there to ensure that a player, team, coach does not gain an unfair advantage in pursuit of a victory. The violations in front of us seem a little distant of that intent. However, when the players come to OSU they agree to play according to the rules presented to them. To do otherwise would diminish the sport.

    It is disappointing, but the Buckeye Nation will move on.

    Right about now, Braxton Miller’s decision to start at OSU in January looms as a positive omen.

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2017 schedule

Aug. 31: vs. at Indiana, 8 p.m.
Sept. 9: Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16: Army, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 23: UNLV
Sept. 30: at Rutgers
Oct. 4: at Maryland
Oct. 7: Maryland
Oct. 14: at Nebraska
Oct. 28: Penn State, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 4: at Iowa
Nov. 11: Michigan State
Nov. 18: Illinois
Nov. 22: Indiana
Nov. 25: at Team Up North, noon
Dec. 2: B1G Championship, 8 p.m.

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