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SI.com’s Tressel Piece A Must Read For College Sports Fans

If you haven’t read Sports Illustrated’s cover story on now-deposed Ohio State coach Jim Tressel… you need to.  The piece by George Dohrmann and David Epstein is an unflinching look at the often nasty underbelly of college athletics.

Now that headlines about OSU and Tressel are piling up, it’s likely that the majority of America’s sports fans will simply say, “What a bunch of dirty cheaters” and then move right along.  But those who think a bit longer on the subject will consider Ohio State’s situation — and contemplate the rule-bends and look-the-other-ways documented in the SI piece — and wonder: “Does that kind of thing go on at my favorite school, too?”

The probable answer: Yes.

Anyone who’s spent time on a big-time college campus knows that some athletes drive very nice cars they have no business owning or driving.  They know that there are a few restaurants and bars on campus where athletes tend to congregate and that often those sites give the players “VIP treatment.”  Get to know an athlete and you’ll likely learn that players know who and where to turn if they should need a hundred bucks here or there. 

In other words, this kind of thing goes on everywhere.

Fans across the country point fingers at the SEC… and thanks to the league’s recent high-profile troubles, it’s hard to fend off the barbs.  But just as it’s inaccurate to suggest that only the SEC cheats, it’s just as improper to point a quick finger at Ohio State and declare them America’s top villain.

Cheating goes on, folks.  Everywhere.  Don’t believe me?  Then ask yourself how all of your favorite school’s top football and basketball players can afford to cover their bodies in tattoo “sleeves” that would normally cost them thousands of dollars.

Ohio State has been caught.  And Ohio State will be rightfully punished.  That’s how the system works and I’m all for a deterrent system based on smashing the guy who does get caught.

But the SEC, the Big Ten, and all the other conferences making up the NCAA have bigger issues than Tressel and OSU right now.  Some boosters will always look for advantage.  Some young men will always be willing to take an extra benefit here or there.  And some/many coaches will always be willing to look the other way.

Ohio State is just the latest symptom of a much bigger cancer that’s growing — right along with television contracts and coaches’ salaries — on the face of college athletics.

 


8 comments
Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson

John, i know i have watched your show since day 1. I know you don't like the past, but do you or have you ever heard anyone talk about the Hershel
Walker money or cars? Hear say your only source I don't think your quite that old! I want name the school,most people already know ,oh well I am curious !

Jack
Jack

Since cheating as you say John "goes on everywhere," consider just how hypocritical it was for Fulmer to secretly investigate his nemesis, pay for the dirt with Thunder Thorton's money and then give secret testimony against that other school. No doubt Tennessee was just as dirty at the time. Tennessee booster Roy "TennStud" Adams could write a book on all of the cheating he alone got away with.

My point for years has been that it does go on everywhere and has for a very long time. And what's worse it the NCAA doesn't have the resources to investigate everyone fairly. USC got hammered and Cam Newton and AU got a free pass. What is amazing in the Tressel case isn't that he lied this time; it's that he's been cheating and lying for years and years and getting away with it.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Jack...

I'm not sure why you keep bringing up Phillip Fulmer here -- aside from the fact that you seem to be obsessed with him.

Perhaps you need to post on some sort of Fulmer website rather than an SEC website that rarely ever mentions the ex-Tennessee coach.

My point is that "yes, cheating does go on everywhere," but that doesn't mean schools that ARE caught shouldn't be hammered. I think Alabama got what it deserved for breaking major rules. I hope Ohio State and Tennessee get what they deserve for breaking rules.

But remember, each situation is different. You talk about Cam Newton getting a free pass but I've yet to see any evidence that Auburn paid him a dime. Show me evidence and I'll hope the Tigers get what they deserve, too. Until then, you're just looking to defend your school by making accusations about other schools. That doesn't fly.

The fact is -- Alabama cheated, got caught and got spanked.

Others should get spanked when they get caught, but that doesn't let Alabama off the hook.

Do the crime, do the time. Same goes for Ohio State, Tennessee or anyone else you want to mention (as long as there's some evidence of cheating).

We believe that the NCAA needs to get a grip on this whole mess as things are getting worse as college sports generate more and more dollars. As we noted earlier, hammering those who are caught is the only way to fix the mess.

But it's a nationwide mess.

John

Jack
Jack

I didn't say Alabama shouldn't have been punished. They should have been and were. Now the school that turned them in has been caught cheating itself. John, as you said, we both want Tennessee to get spanked. You want them to get spanked in football and baseball because they broke the rules. I want them to get spanked because they broke the rules and because they secretly gave information against Alabama. I'm an Alabama fan with a good memory so that's how I look at things. But I appreciate you acknowledging Tennessee has now cheated, and you want them to be spanked for it. And yours is an objective view. Clearly mine isn't.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Jack...

I want any team that cheats to pay the price. I think that's the only way the NCAA can clean things up... literally by scaring the hell out of people.

Read this site regularly and you'll see that we treat all 12 programs in the exact same way.

Many thanks,
John

Sherri from Columbus
Sherri from Columbus

Well said, John. I'm sure there's more coming with other schools too. It's sad...

Jack
Jack

Anybody remember Secret Witness Phillip Fulmer turning in Alabama? Now the word is "everybody does it." Strange that those words weren't on anybody's lips when Alabama was getting hammered. Gawd I hope the NCAA crushes Tennessee football and basketball.

Wild Bill
Wild Bill

As a life-long SEC fan (LSU grad, plus UAB for Masters) now living in the Buckeye Nation - i'm finding the reactions of may OSU fans interesting...they seem generally behind Tressel, and are blaming the players themselves; especially the "traitors" who squealed.

Yes, I believe that most (all?) big schools have similar issues, and OSU happens to have been caught. I remember buzz around the LSU campus when I was there that Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal) was "on-campus" that day, as his Hummer had been sighted - could a college student really afford a Hummer in the early 90's? No.

The NCAA rules are unrealistic as regards player perks/compensation, and should be revised accordingly - i personally think that they should just pay the players and be done with it...



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