It's a funny world that we live in, isn't it?
It's hard not to be angry as an Ohio State football fan. You likely want to direct your anger at Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron, DeVier Posey, Solomon Thomas, Mike Adams and Jordan Whiting for making the bonehead move of trading Buckeye paraphernalia for cash and tattoos.
They were absolutely wrong for doing that, but if you're directing your anger at these kids, you're aiming a bit short.
Instead, focus the bulk of that anger at the NCAA. This is the organization that has spent the past three months involved with Cam Newton and his father Papa Newton (a pastor), and their attempt at extorting up to $180,000 from Mississippi St.
Cam, while leading Auburn to a potential national championship and winning the Heisman along the way, did his best Sgt. Schultz (there's my vague, Hogan's Heroes impression) impression, telling the NCAA, "I see nothing, I know nothing."
You know Newton. He left the University of Florida after knowingly purchasing a stolen computer, lying about doing it, then getting caught with the computer in his possession. He was also allegedly caught cheating on classwork in a variety of manners.
I mean, there's no reason at all not to believe this kid, or his father...except for the fact that it could cost the NCAA boatloads of money.
In comparison, six Ohio State Buckeyes, while not innocent by any stretch, were banned for five games (Whiting for one) for essentially selling their own property, given to them by the university, and trading their names for tattoos, valued from $50-$155.
Why did they sell these items? Who knows. Maybe it to pay for gas for a road trip home, or perhaps it was to take out their girlfriends to a movie and dinner. Maybe Mom and Dad needed the money to travel to Columbus to see a game. Maybe they just wanted to have the cash to show off a bit.
Gene Smith, THE Ohio State athletic director, stated that the time was "one of the toughest economic environments in our history. The decisions that they made, they made to help their families...these young men went into their decision with the right intent, to help their families."
At face value, these Ohio State players likely didn't know what they were doing at the time.
The players in question were coming off their freshman year at the time, and they sold their uniforms, awards and gold pants for cash between $1,000 and $2,500. During this time in their careers at Ohio State, they hadn't yet received the information regarding these types of sanctions through the "NCAA Education" seminars provided by the university.
After receiving the appropriate knowledge later in 2009 through the seminars, the players didn't volunteer their early indiscretions.
So, I say unto the fans of college football, are we to believe these young Ohio State fans at face value? Of course not. I think any sensible human being has to believe that they had to know something wasn't kosher. You know, the same way that we all know Cam Newton did know and likely take part in the extortion of Mississippi State.
Regardless, shouldn't the NCAA give Ohio State the same considerations they gave Auburn? Oh, wait a second, Terrelle Pryor isn't the golden boy anymore, and the Buckeyes went and lost a game to Wisconsin...no Heisman and no national title. So, it makes sense to drop the hammer now, doesn't it.
Apparently, the Buckeyes failure to admit their improprieties after finding out through the seminars that caused the NCAA to drop the hammer. After the seminar is given, the players are asked to volunteer any potential misconduct. Failure to disclose adds on to any punishment that may be given.
The six players involved, through fear, embarrassment, or simply because they thought they'd get away with, didn't disclose. Enter then, the five-game suspension (Whiting apparently didn't sell any merchandise, either only trading an autograph, or just tagging along, to get a tattoo).
As I said before, these Buckeyes deserve a penalty of some sort. These Buckeyes received "special benefits," which goes against the letter of the law. Are their indiscretions worthy of a five-game suspension? Are you serious? I know that I'm an Ohio State fan, but the penalties are idiotic.
There weren't any boosters involved, handing cash to these players, as apparently happened to Troy Smith in 2004, when he was suspended for two games, including the Alamo Bowl that season, and the home opener the following season.
These players didn't receive anything in order to either attend THE Ohio State, nor did they throw a game. These players sold items that they were given after their freshman season to earn some cash, needed or not. The five-game suspension is a freakin' joke.
On top of the NCAA hypocrisy in the penalty is that these Buckeyes are allowed to play in the Arkansas game, thus ensuring that they receive maximum bang for their buck in one of only two or three solid match-ups in the post-New Year's bowl games. Why?
Well, the NCAA says it doesn't want these players to miss a "unique opportunity these events provide at the end of the season." Are you serious? I can't even comment on the ridiculousness of that decision. The transparency of the NCAA and their minions couldn't get any more idiotic.
If you're going to suspend these players, take them out of the Sugar Bowl game and the home opener next year. If you want to teach them a lesson, take them out of the bowl game. Of course, how would the sponsors feel about that?
Yeah NCAA...you cover up your stench real well.
AD Smith has stated that the penalties are "severe," and that they will go through the appeals process. Mark my words, these players will not serve a five-game suspension.
I fully expect the Buckeyes, who have been nothing if not sparkling to the NCAA since the Maurice Clarett escapades in 2003, to prove their case that these players shouldn't have their NCAA career threatened, due to selling merchandise they thought was theirs to begin with.
No, these Buckeyes will have their suspension cut to two games, if that. Why? They play Miami in the third week of the season. Perhaps the NCAA will keep the suspension at three games, so they miss the Hurricanes game, but I doubt it.
If the NCAA doesn't do the right thing, expect the bulk of these players to apply their trade in the NFL, which is fine by me. Pryor, Herron and Posey will get drafted, and at least have an opportunity to earn money for their play.
Look for the Buckeyes to ride this wave, as the Sugar Bowl may be the last time this group plays together, and the last time that Pryor, Herron, Posey and Adams grace a field wearing the Scarlet and Gray. No, these guys didn't make the smartest moves on the planet, but in the end, they performed on the field.
So, to all the Big Ten fans out there getting your kicks with the current "scandal," enjoy your couple of weeks in the sun. The Buckeyes have run roughshod on the conference over the past several years, and here's your one chance to take advantage of a potential downturn. Enjoy it...roll in it like the mud most of your programs have been over the years.
Why? Because the Buckeyes don't rebuild...they reload.