Tag Archives: Ohio State

You will be the ones

Let’s talk about Mark Dantonio, Big Ten Coach of the year for the second time in three years. 40 wins in four years. Two Big Ten Championship Games in three seasons.

Mark Dantonio took a beleaguered and pathetic Michigan State football team and made it a Big Ten powerhouse. He took a program barely treading water since the departure of Nick Saban and gave it life, and more than life, a personality, an identity and a belief system. He’s got guts. He believe in defense. He knows the power of the underdog. He takes coal and turns it into diamonds.

He brooks no nonsense. His first season at Michigan State, he announced the Big Ten wouldn’t have MSU to kick around anymore. His “pride comes before the fall” quote is the most famous from his 2007 post-Michigan presser, but the real takeaway is this, “I’m telling them it’s not over…It’s not over and it will never be over here. It’s just starting.” After that first loss, Dantonio has gone 5-1 against Michigan.

Dantonio draws the ire of a lot of Big Ten fans for his shortness, his scowl and his grumpy demeanor. Next question.

But for MSU fans, Dantonio is a savior, the perfect fit for a program that was on its way to sinking to Purdue-levels of suckitude. For those of use who sat through John L, Bobby Williams, et al, Dantonio is a breath of fresh air, a coach who cares deeply about winning and shows it. More than that, he has the guts to ask “Why not us?” Why NOT Michigan State? Big Ten Champs? In the Rose Bowl? National Championships? Why not us?

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Filed under Big Ten, College Football, Football, Hype, MSU, P4RB, Posted by Sarah, Rose Bowl?, Video

And So It Is: Tattoo/Memorabilia/Car-Gate 2011

I kind of saw this coming, but I have to admit I was surprised when I woke up Monday morning and read the news about Jim Tressel stepping down. Was it necessary? Absolutely. But part of me thought that Ohio State was going to keep him around. It became incredibly clear today that Ohio State is trying to distance themselves from him as much as they can. This tattoo, memorabilia, and car issue with the Ohio State players is a Jim Tressel issue, and not an Ohio State University problem – at least that’s what the university wants you to believe.

After reading the Sports Illustrated article written by George Dohrmann with David Epstein (if you haven’t read it, please do so http://tinyurl.com/3n4zwm8), it became pretty clear that all of the “I didn’t know” fodder from December was absolute BS as I (and nearly everyone else with a brain) suspected. He had known about Terrelle Pryor and company selling their memorabilia for at least a year, even though he had stood in front of the media and told them otherwise after the allegations first emerged. In fact, shady bizness had been going down at Ohio State for a long period of time. Sports Illustrated conducted an investigation that alleged wrongdoings all the way back from 2002.

But what does he do with all those vests?

Jim Tressel knew last year without players like Terrelle Pryor and Daniel Herron, Ohio State wouldn’t be a national title contender. So, instead of reporting the things he knew about what his players were doing, he covered it up and then let them take all the criticism when it was found out. He can say that he was doing what he could to protect his athletes, but he just wanted to protect his record and his chance for a national title. The thing is, Jim, you can’t hide what’s on a computer. Has no one learned that yet?

Whether it was arranging jobs for players, pointing the athletes in the direction of boosters who would give them an extra hand if they were short on change, or turning a blind eye when the football players came to school in brand new cars, Tressel had a hand in all of it. I’ve never believed the “I didn’t know” excuse in athletics, and this Ohio State situation confirms my theory that “I didn’t know” will never fly.

Look, Jim Tressel has done a lot of really great things for Ohio State and its athletes. He was a role model for a lot of his athletes and helped a lot of them escape terrible home situations. He is a fantastic football coach. Heck, I didn’t want my team to face him and I’m not sure there’s a coach in the country that wanted to be opposite him on the sidelines. But the biggest problem here is that he built up his empire based around his character and his willingness to share that good character and great values with others. When whispers of wrongdoings at Youngstown State emerged, no one would believe it about Jim Tressel because of his reputation. When the speculation came out about Terrelle Pryor and the five other players who were suspended for five games in the upcoming season, people believed that there was no way the Vest knew about it. Here was a guy who, in his book The Winners Manual: For the Game of Life, wrote “The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.” It looks like you had a couple hours to change your mind about reporting what you knew, Jim, and you chose to ignore it.

Perhaps he really believed that it wasn’t that bad. But even if the crimes that were committed, in the grand scheme, weren’t that bad… the NCAA doesn’t take being lied to lightly. Just look back to the Bruce Pearl situation earlier this year. If you have paid any attention to sports radio in the past year, you’ve heard this “the cover up is worse than the crime.” I believe that if Jim Tressel had come forward and told what he knew, he would still be coaching for Ohio State. At the very least, his university would still be supporting him. He did not. And now the mighty Buckeyes are forced to put their football program back together.

There is still a lot of talent on that team. If they can come together and ignore this stuff, they might be able to salvage their season. On the other hand, Pryor and company could choose to jump to the NFL. They no longer have the sweater vest to be held accountable to. They promised him they would stay after they were allowed to play in the Fiesta Bowl (which is having its own problems, PS). Could they jump? Maybe. I guess we will have to see what sort of character they have. But, judging by the brand new car Pryor drove to a mandatory meeting yesterday, he’s not too concerned about issues of character.

I’m not sitting here pointing the finger at Ohio State and pretending like my football team doesn’t have its own problems. Michigan State University has had its share of scandal. Yes, the potluck arrests are not forgotten. But this type of bust is bad for the Big Ten and bad for college football. It just is. Cheating/rule breaking runs wild in college athletics, but that doesn’t make this ok. Perhaps the NCAA should use this situation and examine if athletes need more of a stipend; if it should be acceptable for them to sell the memorabilia they earned. Regardless, rules were broken, a cover up attempt was made, and now Ohio State has lost its coach.

So, where does Ohio State go from here? First, they ban any and all sweater vests. Second, they get ready to vacate the 2010 season. Third, they get prepared for coaching speculation that will drive everyone nuts.

And finally, stay away from Mark Dantonio. I like him where he is.

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Filed under Big Ten, College Football, Posted by Sara

Ohhhio State: Why the NCAA is Out of Control

Today five members of the Ohio State football team (Terrelle Pryor included) were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season.  The NCAA discovered that these five players had sold a number of Big Ten championship rings, jerseys, and awards for cash.  Pryor even sold his sportsmanship award from the 2009 Fiesta Bowl.  I couldn’t make that up if I tried.  While these suspensions mean that Terrelle will not play in the Ohio State vs. MSU game in Columbus next year (as an MSU fan I have to celebrate that), what they really do is expose yet another flaw with the NCAA.

These actions were clearly in violation of NCAA rules.  However, if they were that serious of violations, why are these players still eligible for the Sugar Bowl?  Ohio State took the fall for that one, saying that they were to blame because the players were not properly educated on the rules during the time the violations were committed.  I call BS.  The real reason is that there is money to be made by these players competing in the Sugar Bowl.

Bet Terrelle is wondering how much he can sell that for.

The excuse “I didn’t know” is becoming more and more prominent in these NCAA investigations.  Ohio State says they are at fault for not properly educating their athletes on the rules.  Really?  Terrelle Pryor and Co didn’t realize that selling jerseys, rings, etc is a rule violation?  In the Cam Newton investigation, Cam escaped unscathed because he said he didn’t know his dad was shopping him around to schools for a six figure payment.  I call B.S. on that.  How do you not know your dad is pimping you out?  It seems ridiculous.  If Cam Newton wasn’t playing for the national title, would he have been suspended?  We’ll never know, but the ruling further showcases the hypocrisy of the NCAA.

Another recent high profile case of NCAA rules enforcement was in the one game suspension for Michigan State’s Tom Izzo.  Izzo was suspended for a secondary violation of rules.  Michigan State employed someone who was an affiliate of a prospect.  They didn’t pay him an extraordinary amount; he was paid $475 for a week of work at a basketball camp.  This is a new rule that was just created last year to prevent schools from paying associates of prospects to influence their decision to attend a particular school.  To be clear, this is a SECONDARY violation.  Secondary.  Michigan State did not pay a player.  They did not sell anything for profit.  The rule is so unclear that this person in question could have a prospect’s mailman…not even a coach.  The NCAA decided to drop the hammer on Izzo, who has an impeccable record and the respect of the entire college basketball association, to prove some sort of point that no one is sure of, leaving everyone shaking their heads.

Look, I give the NCAA credit for cracking down on rules violations and attempting to clean up college sports.  It is clear there are some serious issues within this industry.  However, you cannot randomly decide when you’re going to be strict and when you are not.  You cannot continue to listen to the excuse of “I didn’t know.”  “I didn’t know” didn’t work when I was a child trying to get out of missing a curfew.  And “I didn’t know” cannot continue to work for the NCAA.

Each of the players in the Ohio State situation could leave the school after this year.  They’ll have the Sugar Bowl to prove that they’re worthy for the NFL, and they can leave after that.  If they do decide to jump to the pros, what is learned here?  It continues to give future athletes ways to avoid sanctions and suspensions.

Ohio State also said that the players were selling these items to get money for their families.  If this is true, then it adds more fuel to the fire to that college athletes need to receive some sort of stipend.  I don’t know if that’s the answer, but if that is the REAL reason, then the NCAA should really be looking at itself to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  Then again, maybe the families “didn’t know” that selling these items were in violation of NCAA rules.

I'm sorry, Mama... I never meant to hurt you.

The NCAA really needs to take some time to examine their stance on what happens when athletes and schools break the rules.  Right now, they are coming off as big business crooks more concerned about money than making just rulings.  For me, it seems simple.  These players broke the rules.  They should be suspended for the bowl game and however many other games as seen fit.  If anything, this would give them the chance to come back next year and make amends for what they did wrong.  The NCAA, once again, dropped the ball on this one.

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Filed under Big Ten, College Football, NCAA, Posted by Sara