College football is broken
Indianapolis, we have a problem.
No, I'm not in favor of moving NASA.
College football is broken. The people that are the cause of the problem are also the ones in charge of fixing the problem…thus the problem.
Is John Junker the only bowl President to host massive parties of self-indulgence?
Is Jim Tressel the only college football head coach to receive information about players violating NCAA rules and try to cover it up?
If the answer to these questions is yes, college football has just purged itself of two men who were pariah in the sport and the future of the game looks great.
I don't believe the answer to those questions is yes.
John Junker was in the business of self-preservation. Where did coaches and the dignitaries of college football get the idea to see skin and party? I don't believe these college football superiors went to Miami, New Orleans, Nashville and San Diego as great pillars of integrity and the lure of Phoenix women was too much to bear. I believe the Fiesta Bowl did what they thought they had to do to stay on top.
I see Jim Tressel in the exact same light. Tressel said he didn't go to compliance because he didn't know where to go with the information that was to be kept confidential. LIE! If he didn't know where to go why did he forward the information to Pryor's Pennsylvania mentor? He obviously knew where to go. He did it for self-preservation.
Let's move on from attacking Junker and Tressel's character. Is it deserved? Absolutely!...but it is also a waste of time. Junker and Tressel decided that winning was above any cost. It's up to you whether or not you want to attack their character for it. All attacks need to be focused on the college presidents that make up the NCAA.
The actions of Junker go on at almost every bowl game. The actions of Tressel go on at almost every university. When you create a billion-dollar system with gutless checks and balances, the Fiesta Bowl scandal and Ink-for-gear is exactly what you'll get. You can keep blaming the Junker's and the Tressel's of the world but the system will just produce more of them. Until the NCAA decides to get serious and fix college football, nothing will change.
The NCAA is not some pie in the sky group. The NCAA made up of college presidents too scared to take on the sacred cow of college football. These are some of the most spineless men and women in the country. Any penalty short of the death penalty for OSU shows the NCAA isn't serious about fixing the problem. The NCAA won't do it because Ohio State is doing what almost every college football team is doing. If you go after OSU, you have to do it to the next program. College presidents don't want OSU to get the hammer because they're afraid the cat will get out of the bag and their school will be in front of the same committee.
Ohio State was already under probation for the men's basketball coach paying a player with his own money. Tressel has a series of events at Youngstown State that are very similar. He already had used the ignorance card in his dealings with Maurice Clarett. He then lied to NCAA investigators on this subject. We're not talking about the fifth string LB exchanging memorabilia for tattoos. We're talking about the head coach's hand-picked QB exchanging the head coach's autograph and other memorabilia for merchandise. Please don't waste time arguing a head coach who spends his whole life noticing every change an opposing defense makes doesn't notice a change in car and appearance of his own QB.
Don't fall for the argument "it was just a couple of tattoos." As soon as you do that you're announcing at the top of your lungs, "I'm an ignorant fool when it comes to college football."
AJ Green got a lot of attention before the draft because he was a great college receiver. He got a lot of attention during his college career because he violated an NCAA rule soon after its passing. The NCAA realized there was a major loophole in the rule book. Players were selling game-worn merchandise or championship rings to boosters for big bucks. The NCAA warned all member institutions to be on the look-out for this violation. Players on every campus were warned that selling merchandise is a violation. Soon after, AJ Green sold his Independence Bowl jersey to a drug dealer.
If the NCAA just issued a reminder that selling merchandise for cash and gifts is a violation and AJ Green just lost 4 games due to the violation, then I think it's a joke to justify the actions of the OSU players as simply "just tattoos." What the players received in return for the merchandise doesn't matter. It isn't just "tattoos" when the NCAA just announced this is a major focal point of compliance and one school within months has players commit the exact infraction.
I also reject the argument that Coach Tressel couldn't possibly keep 150 kids in-line. The man has a track history of these "incidents" occurring without his knowledge. At what point should he be held accountable for his ignorance? If you think Tressel is a great guy that doesn't deserve this attention, let me ask when does he? How many times should a coach be allowed to play the ignorance card before someone tells him that his job security is determined by his effort to keep the program compliant? If you have a glaring weakness in your managerial ability, does your employer give you 10 years to fix it? They do if you bring in 100's of millions of dollars to the company and your boss doesn't care about breaking regulations to get that money.
The death penalty is made for transgressions like this: a program on probation which clearly lacks institutional control and failed to monitor the team after numerous signs pointed to problems within the football program. How does Sports Illustrated learn more in 2 months of investigating than OSU did in over a year? This isn't a school hell-bent on compliance and integrity.
Some Ohio State fan will take this as if I'm rooting for Ohio State to receive the death penalty. I'm not. I don't want to see kids who didn't do anything wrong lose out on their dream of playing football for Ohio State. There's a difference between rooting for a penalty and being educated by it.
I don't care whether or not OSU gets nailed or how hard they get nailed. I do know what the penalty says. The penalty the NCAA gives to Ohio State shows whether or not they really want to change the culture of college football at the division one level. Ohio State's "crimes" are far beyond the actions of USC and Alabama. Those schools recently received 2-year post-season bans.
If Ohio State is not given the death penalty, the NCAA is saying they hope the corruption ends. If OSU is given the death penalty, it shows the NCAA is saying the corruption must stop.
I am not asking anyone to forgive and forget the transgressions of Junker and Tressel. I think both men should be without a job today. I think both men violated everything that they pretended their institutions represented. I just think the people that hand them the power are just as guilty.