Ohio State University is one of the proudest and most successful schools in all of college football. Its prestige is among the top in the country, and they have always been among the elite of college football.
That being stated, they messed up.
They messed up big.
But among many questions, the biggest question for many fans is not about the motives or who is responsible.
The biggest question for many fans is, what can and will the NCAA do about all of this?
The university has taken some action; first suspending players, then after new findings, perhaps forcing head coach Jim Tressel to resign after discovering his knowledge of players—including Terrelle Pryor—receiving illegal benefits from a tattoo parlor.
But many fans of college football believe this isn't enough. Many of these fans are not only enraged, but often feel their own teams are cheated by these sort of situations.
Look at the recent decision by the NCAA to remove USC as the 2004 national champion.
While some praise the NCAA for taking a stand against illegal benefits for players, many fans are also criticizing this action due to its ultimate worthlessness.
Sure, their name has been "blotted" from the record books, and the NCAA has actually already punished USC by placing them on probation, but everyone will remember that 2004 USC team as one of the most dominant teams ever in college football.
So does it really matter?
After all, Auburn will likely remember that as the year they were "cheated" from a national championship after going undefeated that season.
And what about teams like Oregon and TCU, who may feel the same way after this 2010 past season and the allegations surrounding Cameron Newton?
If—and that's a big if—Auburn's 2010 national championship is ever revoked, will it do anything for teams like Oregon and TCU?
Of course it won't. All it leaves fans and players with is that sour feeling of what could have been.
All of this leads to a new chief justice role for college football fans. Who's to say your team isn't next on the list of teams to be "cheated" out of a season by a "cheating" team?
This has made fans into whistle-blowers. Every fan seems to want to see the NCAA bring the hammer on Ohio State for the alleged benefits received by its players, and while I can't deny feeling this would be justified, I don't believe the NCAA will do it.
Don't get me wrong, I think Ohio State will be punished "severely" by NCAA standards. What they did to USC would have been pretty brutal—in 1980.
In today's world, teams on probation still play on television. They may not play in bowl games, which is a decent amount of exposure for a school, but the truth is for teams like Ohio State and USC, they don't need any exposure.
This past year, despite a two-year probation, scholarship losses and no promise of playing in a bowl game, USC still managed to haul in what many scouts consider a top-five recruiting class and will likely do it again.
I'm waiting on the NCAA to create real consequences for these teams. Until they do, the illegal benefits will not stop, because as far as many of these teams are concerned, the punishment seems to be worth the crime.
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