Seeing as how we’ve busted out the twelve pack of facts following all the big games this season, I thought it might be appropriate to break one out after yesterday’s bombshell. Here are my 12 takes from the big news.
No. 1– Here’s the official news release from the University. The following players are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season- Mike Adams, Daniel Herron, Devier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas. Jordan Whiting is suspended for just the first game of 2011. All players have been deemed eligible for the Sugar Bowl however.
No. 2– This incident at a Columbus tattoo parlor took place in 2009, after the ’08 season. Players sold everything from Big Ten Championship rings, to Gold Pants charms (awarded for beating Michigan) to jerseys and shoes with their autograph on them. Terrelle Pryor even sold his ’09 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award. I have two thoughts on that one. First, with his complaining and sideline fits how did Pryor win a sportsmanship award? Second, is that not the height of irony to use an NCAA sportsmanship award to violate rules?
No. 3– Alright, so why do these guys get to play in the bowl game? First off, this decision was not made by OSU, but by the NCAA. AD Gene Smith said that the University will be appealing the legnth of the suspensions, believing them to be severe. They will likely be successful in getting them reduced by a game or two.
With all the promotion and $$ already invested in the Sugar Bowl, not too mention the usual BCS rankings debates, the NCAA was not likely to cripple one of it’s bowl games by suspending most of its offensive productivity.
No. 4– How did they get caught? The US Attorney’s office found the items in question at the parlor and contacted OSU to see if any of these items had been stolen. When questioned about the incident, the students (according to AD Gene Smith) were candid and honest about what took place.
Now, why Terrelle Pryor decided to tweet Wednesday that “I paid for my tats” and then erase the same message Thursday is anyone’s guess. But then again, the kid is somewhat of an enigma.
No. 5– The students claim that they sold the items “to help their families”. This could mean a variety of things of course. Smith painted the bleakest possible picture of the economy in the winter of ’09, almost inferring that the students did something noble and kept their parents off the bread and soup lines. Of course, “helping their families” could just as easily mean “Now I don’t have to call mom and bug her for another couple hundred dollars for my I-Tunes and video game addiction.” You say tomato…
No. 6– Apparently, this has been going on for a while. Here’s something interesting. @ESPNCleveland and several others retweeted a message from Antonio Pittman, who said “This osu tattoo stuff is silly. Cats been gettin hookups on tatts since back in 01”. Try to find that tweet now. Yep, it seems Antonio thought better of it and erased the tweet.
Does that surprise anyone? Probably not. It sounds like a little secret that the ‘cool guys club’ gets invited to. The tattoo shop in question is still under investigation of some sort by the US attorney’s office, which is why they are witholding the name and evidence. Could it be that past players get implicated? Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
No. 7– Four of these players are juniors that may just declare for the NFL draft since they are going to have to miss a significant chunk of next season. Let’s assume that the suspensions get reduced by one game. That would mean the team plays out the non-conference schedule and gets the suspended players back for the Big Ten opener against Michigan State.
So what is there to come back for? Typically players would return if they felt that the team had a legit chance to win the National Title, or to improve their draft stock or win major awards. Missing a third of the season would seriously hurt any of these guys’ shots at winning one of the big post-season awards. Not that they would have been favorites for them anyway. Plus, Tressell is going to practice hard the guys that will be starting the season. You wonder how many reps Pryor, Herron and Posey would see during the spring or during camp. How much would they improve with limited reps in practice?
No. 8– He may not always be the most popular man in Columbus, but you have to hear Kirk Herbstreit yesterday on the Cowherd show. Audio is here, half way down and on the right margin. If you aren’t able to listen, Kirk paints a pretty unflattering picture of Pryor and calls the team better off with “addition by subtraction” saying the team can get back to focussing on the team, not tweeting and carrying on, worrying about their image and draft stock.
No. 9– Several different thought streams came out today. “The NCAA is a bunch of hypocrites.” Maybe. But the rules are the rules. Whether or not they are the best rules isn’t for the player to interpret and do what they please. Playing college sports is not a God-given right. If you want to enjoy the benefits, then you have to abide by the system in place.
“Cam Newton skated, and the Buckeyes are getting hosed.” Whatever. Maybe. The fact is the Buckeye players got caught. None of this happened without their knowledge or consent. Unlike the Newton case, there is a smoking gun found. So one really has nothing to do with the other.
“These players don’t get paid, they have a right to make money the same way the University does.” Don’t get me started about not getting paid. They are paid. Want to see my student loan paperwork? Don’t tell me a full ride isn’t payment. Do they get an equal share with the universities? Of course not. And as soon as they can come up with a system to reward athletes with additional stipends that doesn’t destroy the competitive balance of the NCAA I’m all ears.
This one is my favorite. It came from actual OSU players- “True Buck fans support you all.” WHAT? True Buckeye fans support the players going against the rules of the NCAA? Or do you mean true Buckeye fans support the players’ right to make a living off their name? Or do you mean true Buckeye fans support the players’ right to make a mistake, pay the penalty and move on? The third I’ll agree to. Though I’m not wild about these ‘true fan’ phrases.
Here’s the deal. I’ve learned that you, Mr. Athlete do not know nor really care about me the individual fan. I’m a face in a sea of Scarlett in this case. So here’s some news. I cheer for laundry. I cheer for whoever is in the uniform of my favorite teams. For the time being it is you. Later on, it will be someone else. Earn my respect and admiration with your exploits on the field and you will always have a place in my heart.
“They didn’t know it was wrong.” Oh, ok. Come on. I’ll give you that it seems like you should be able to do whatever you want with items that you own. But they have this kind of stuff drilled into their heads all the time. When you are asked to sign something in order to receive services that cost in the thousands of dollars? No alarm goes off there?
No. 10– Let’s say the juniors decide to move on to the NFL draft, does that kill OSU’s shot at a title next season? Probably. And I’m probably alone in this, but I don’t care. In fact, I’d kind of like to see them not get to play in the Sugar Bowl.
Dan Herron is one of my favorite Buckeyes in recent years. I thought the way he took control of that position this year was impressive to watch. He really came a long way since last year. “I’ll miss you most of all scarecrow.”
But I won’t shed a tear for Pryor. Maybe he was a victim of the great hype machine. Too tough to live up to that kind of standard and pressure. Which is why it turns my stomach to see blog posts and youtube videos make the rounds about some 7th grade basketball phenom, or 4th grade super running back. Can’t we let these kids have a normal upbringing? Do we have to target them from middle school? Do they have to grow up with such a sense of entitlement?
Pryor is not an NFL quarterback. He will no doubt be told that he is 5th or 6th round material at best, and teams will want to convert him. No doubt he will think that he is a quarterback. He may even decide to come back in an effort to be drafted as such. He has said all along he was coming back. Maybe he should have taken some advice that was dished out a while back.
No. 11– Who will play QB, RB and WR next year? Will we finish above .500? Please. Without all of those players we’re still better than Michigan right now.
Joe Bauserman will likely get the longest look, but Braxton Miller could “pull a Pryor” and get thrown to the wolves. Not very likely, but possible. At RB the cupboard is hardly bare. Another true freshman could just be the stud they love at OSU, but if Smith doesn’t start right away they are still stocked with Berry, Hyde and Hall. Ohio State is a football factory. They will survive this.
No. 12– I feel bad for the seniors. They are now going to have to deal with an absolute circus at the Sugar Bowl instead of really enjoying the experience and reflecting on four great years. I also feel bad for the juniors that weren’t part of this. Brewster and company will now be lumped together and synonymous with those that broke the rules.