It has been reported that Terrelle Pryor and some of his teammates have taken improper benefits and are now suspended for the first five games of next season.
Did someone forget to tell Ohio State and the NCAA that there is still one more game this season?
According to the reports, some players sold Big Ten Championship rings and received services at discounted prices.
"These are significant penalties based on findings and information provided by the university," Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, said in a statement released by the NCAA.
I am a believer that college athletes should be given perks and even be paid to play college football, but because that is against the rules, now I find myself asking why they aren't being suspended for the final game of the season.
I understand the BCS games are all about money and ratings, but is the NCAA or Ohio State really going to allow these players who are in clear violation of NCAA rules to play in a game that should be seen as a privilege?
So why are they eligible for this bowl game?
According to the NCAA, this is why: They did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred.
Really? They had no idea that they shouldn't receive special treatment as players? Is that how easy it is to get off now?
Look at Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. Everyone outside of Auburn and his supporters were calling for a suspension and were hoping he wouldn't be considered for the Heisman.
Had he been guilty, he would have been suspended right away and most likely would've lost his Heisman opportunity. The punishment would have been immediate.
What is the difference between him and the Ohio State players?
They are found guilty, but because they weren't educated about the rules they can play in one of the biggest games of the year?
Do you think that would have worked for Newton? What about Reggie Bush? Can he say that and get his trophy back?
How fair is that to Arkansas? I realize any team would want to win a game playing against the other team's best players, but rules are rules.
Isn't Ohio State in charge of providing these students with that education, or shouldn't common sense come into play?
In 2007 23 Florida State players were suspended from a bowl game because they violated an NCAA rule.
In 2008 Alabama suspended Andre Smith for improper dealings with an agent. He missed the Sugar Bowl that year, and his team lost to Utah.
Michigan State suspended eight players for a bowl game in 2009 for being involved in a fight. Coach Mark Dantonio had this to say.
“The opportunity to play on this football team and the opportunity to play in a bowl game is a privilege, it’s not a given right,” Dantonio said. “With that said, all those present at the incident in question will remain on indefinite suspension and will not make the trip and that will be obviously for violating team rules."
So now Jim Tressel and Ohio State have a decision to make: Do they put winning ahead of integrity?
If four of those players on the squad weren't starters, would their punishment be different?
Maybe the violations weren't major, and nobody was receiving cars, a house or large sums of money, but right now it is a rule violation, and they are guilty.
These rules need to be changed so the student-athletes aren't put in these situations and can receive benefits or money for playing a dangerous sport.
If they aren't going to be changed, they need to be enforced, and the punishment should fit the crime.
Is a five-game suspension too much for these players? Maybe, but not suspending them for this year's bowl game is a bigger crime than what these players committed.
By allowing these players to play in the Sugar Bowl, it tells us that Ohio State is more concerned with winning than doing the right thing.
Was it easy for the other schools to suspend their best players before a bowl game? No, but they did it because it was the right thing to do.
By thy way in 2004 Troy Smith of Ohio State was suspended from the Alamo Bowl for violating a rule that is somewhat similar to what the current Buckeyes have done.
Jim Tressel had this to say at the time.
"All of our players, including Troy, know they have a number of responsibilities to fulfill in order to have the privilege of playing at Ohio State. Troy has not fulfilled those responsibilities and therefore will not be able to play in the Alamo Bowl."
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