By now, everyone has heard that five Ohio State players have received a five game suspension in the upcoming season for violating NCAA rules by selling football related merchandise they received by playing at the Buckeyes. The latest wrinkle, coming out this week, is that OSU Coach Jim Tressel was alerted to this via e-mail as far back as last April and decided to keep quiet about it.
For those keeping track, that is also a NCAA rules violation as well as a violation of the contract he signed with the Buckeyes.
The e-mail he received last April was reportedly from a lawyer telling him that two of his players were caught up in a federal drug-trafficking case and the sale of memorabilia. Having received this knowledge, Tressel made the choice to not pass on this information to anyone else at the school.
"Obviously I’m disappointed that this happened at all," Tressel said. "I take my responsibility for what we do at Ohio State tremendously seriously and for the game of football. I plan to grow from this. I’m sincerely saddened by the fact that I let some people down and didn’t do things as well as I possibly could have."
In an attempt to spearhead possible NCAA discipline, Ohio State swiftly imposed its own punishment upon Coach Tressel, fining him $250,000 and suspending him 2 games next season. This proactive step may not be enough of a punishment in the eyes of the NCAA as they are bound to investigate this matter on there own and have the option of imposing there own sanctions instead of those proposed by the Buckeyes.
Whatever the outcome, however, the coaching job of Ohio State football is still firmly Jim Tressels.
"Wherever we end up, Jim Tressel is our football coach," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. "He is our coach, and we trust him implicitly."
And, in all honesty, that’s how it should be.
Lost in the controversy surrounding Tressel’s fib is the fact that the violations that started it all, the players selling memorabilia for money and tattoos, is a joke to begin with. The items sold were the property of the athletes that sold them. They weren’t stolen or the property of the school or the NCAA, they were things that belonged to these students. What they chose to do with their own property is their own choice. That the NCAA butted their nose in it to begin with is a regrettable travesty and goes to show how out of control the current collegent atmosphere is in this regard.
There is certain lines that the NCAA organization needs to keep their noses out of and this is one of them. If a kid wants to sell a ring he owns, he can sell it, that’s the American way. It honestly has nothing to do with what they are doing on the field.
The NCAA needs to step back and just focus on the things that effect the game and not worry about things that shouldn’t be a problem to begin with. I’m not trying to say that Tressel doesn’t deserve punishment for lying, because he does, but really, this should have been a non-issue to begin with..
To take it one step farther, maybe someone should fine the NCAA for their mistakes.
I’d like to.