I like football…I tend to watch professional more than collegiate, just because SWMBO makes me choose…she would not abide by me spending all day Sunday AND Saturday in front of the TV watching football. I find the professional game a little more compelling, especially with a real play-off system to determine a champion at the end of the season.
There are some people though, who swear by the college game. They say it has a ‘pureness’ that is missing in the professional level, because the kids are playing for the love of the game, and not big piles of money. To which I say B.S…
I will concede that the small college(Division II, III, NAIA) level…football is being played by kids who just want to play the game…the fact that some of them are getting scholarships is the icing on the cake. Big college football, played by teams with names that everyone would recognize AND watch on national TV, is a huge business, and it most certainly just as much about the money as the NFL is, even if none of that money can legally end up in the hands of the players.
THE Ohio State University is the latest school to get busted for having financial gains illegally ending up in their player’s hands. It seems for several years, players at OSU have been selling Ohio St. merchandise, uniforms and even Big 10 Championship Rings to fans and boosters for marked cash, as well as goods and services(tattoos are the big things they have been busted on). They have also been receiving special ‘Players Only’ discounts at car dealerships in town.
These activities constitute what the NCAA calls an ‘Improper Benefit.’ When he found out in a manner he could not ignore(he had to suspect something), that these improper benefits were being enjoyed by his players, Coach Jim Tressel screwed up. Instead of letting his boss and the NCAA know by coming clean, he e-mailed some of the folks he knew to be doing it, and said please stop. Eventually, the story broke anyways…and for his poor judgment, Jim Tressel was forced to resign.
I suppose some might think that is punishment enough…I mean, he was forced to give up a job that was paying him 3.5 MILLION a year, with a guaranteed ‘working retirement at $150,000 a year included(as well as other disgustingly sweet things detailed here).
There will be no ‘long term’ punishment for him though…no suspension from coaching….the only thing keeping him from landing another major college job is going to be public opinion. Even that public opinion will not keep an NFL from hiring him…Pete Caroll, who left USC under similar accusations, was hired pretty quickly by the Seattle Seahawks, at 7 MILLION a year. That’s some punishment for letting his players run wild.
Most of the players themselves will not be punished either…they will get to keep their tattoos and car deals, and get drafted by NFL teams, where they will sign big contracts.
The punishment, like it always does, will fall on THE Ohio State University. They will probably lose scholarship spots, and maybe the ability to go to a Bowl Game, which could cost the school 12 MILLION dollars. The football squad won’t feel the lack of that money, because boosters will make it up…but the general fund might. You might even see the Athletic Director and a few other senior administration folks resign because of a lack of ‘Administrative Control’ at the school.
It’s not a good time to be a Buckeye fan.