Wednesday, March 9, 2011

From the Cornfield: More on tOSU

Ohio State's handling of the situation
I think the Senator summed it up nicely with his WTF post this morning.  I guess my biggest disappointment comes from the NCAA's overly cozy relationship with the Big10 and how that relationship played itself out.   It is illustrative to me that they snooped around Athens, Chapel Hill, Tuscaloosa and Columbia for a month or more, but essentially did a day trip to Columbus from Indy for the Ohio State investigation.  Either the NCAA has bought into the Dirty South meme, are in the pocket of the Big 10, or they truly are incompetent.  Or some combination of all three.

So we are left with yet another black eye on college football.  This one is actually bigger to me than Cam, Agentgate, all of the arrests and Reggie Bush.  It isn't players who were too cozy with folks on Facebook.  It isn't a father too involved in his son's recruitment.  It isn't an agent trying to infiltrate the locker room.

It is a coach, the very last line of defense in keeping players on the straight and narrow.   The man that sets the example of how to navigate this very difficult line between being adulated and living relatively austere lifestyle while others, including him, benefit from their work.  This is a coach that has projected the air of dignified pursuit of excellence.  He has written books on winning the right way.  Been on the speaking trail.  Pontificated about doing it right.

Now we find it is all a facade, much like the facade of the Big 10 being cleaner than the rest of the conferences.

I am willing to buy the "I felt I had to keep quiet-this was a federal investigation-my players could have ended up in a body bag" defense.  At least for a bit.  This isn't a Martin Scorsese flick, though.  This is real life.  There aren't dirty feds that would have turned the names of the players over to the bad guys.  The feds wouldn't have gone to the players and leveraged it for their buddies in Vegas.  Apparently, at least one other person already knew about the players involvement, because he/she sent Tressel the email.

Contractually, Tressel had an obligation to report what he knew to someone.  Unless the compliance department in Columbus was in on the drug conspiracy, that would have been the right move.

This is where the story doesn't hold water for me.  If Tressel goes to compliance, compliance goes to the NCAA, the NCAA goes to the feds.  At that point the feds can share or not share, but at least the University and the coach have done their due dilligence and you can say you have been upfront.  If you have to suspend players, so be it.  Bet they only get four or less games if this comes out in August.

Instead, Tressel sat on the information from April until December.  Then from December until Dan Wetzel found the information.  As far as I am concerned, it is case closed.

More information will come out.  That is the great thing about a public institution: FOIA laws cover all emails.  Right now, in Columbus, there is a whole team of University employees trying to figure out what emails are not producible, what are, and what needs to be redacted from the emails that are producible.  When (or if, I guess it is possible that Tressel is finally telling the whole truth) that collective pile of feces hits that fan, E. Gordon Gee will be in quite the pickle.  Yesterday, I discussed the issues of Delany standing behind them.  Now, Gene Smith and Gordon Gee have put thier chips in the pot, too.

It'll get uglier in Columbus. If the University did know about it and sat until the feds notified them in December, then it'll get a lot uglier.  Bowl bans, reductions in schollys and significant likelihood of no-TV are on the table.  If that becomes the case, it looks like JimDelanyBig10 channel just got a bit less interesting.

The bloom is off the rose.  Delany is a naked dude with a kingdom, nothing more.  Jim Tressel made sure of that, and at least, for now, can say he finally beat an SEC team. Hell, it looks like tOSU might have beaten the SEC at thumbing their nose at the NCAA, too.

Editorial note: While I am mad about this, I am also delighting in emailing all of the people up here who made sure to let me know about AJ Green and Bruce Pearl and the dirtiness of the SEC.  Karma might be a bitch, but she is lovin' up on me right now.

1 comment:

  1. The WWL has reported that the Commish Mr Delany has refused to release a statement, saying only that it is a matter between OSU and the NCAA. He was a lot more willing to talk about the SEC's problems than his own. By the way the SEC dropped the hammer on Pearl with the 8 conference game suspension.