By now everyone has heard about the OSU players dinged for selling personal property to a tattoo shop owner. Five players, including star QB Terrell Pryor, will serve 5-game suspensions at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, but will still be able to play in the Sugar Bowl in January. A sixth just has to pay some money back.
I’m certainly no fan of THE Ohio $tate University, as a friend refers to it. My dad was a Michigan alum, so my loyalties lie far to the north, although anyone is welcome to take RichRod off our hands at any time.
Is a 5-game suspension too much? Maybe. I’ll come back to that.
I’m confused though. Why does a student-athlete have to give up their right to sell some personal property? Once the Gold Pants and Championship Rings were given to the players, they should have control over them. How long does that NCAA control last? Graduation? Dropout date? What if a player drops out, sells something, then comes back to school and still has eligibility? Will they get penalized for selling property while not a student?
I guess I’m a little troubled by the way the NCAA and schools make so much money from the talent that student-athletes bring, but prohibit those same moneymakers from making money for themselves. College athletics are a huge business, especially at the Big 10 level. Millions of dollars pass through colleges in the form of ticket sales, food concessions, product endorsements, apparel sales and so on. And I know that student-athletes benefit through their scholarships. But some of them come from places and homes that would certainly appreciate any extra funds their student-athlete could generate. I think it’s time for the NCAA to take a long hard look at their bylaws.
Now to the bigger issue in my eyes: consistency. The NCAA said in part, “The decision from the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff does not include a withholding condition for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The withholding condition was suspended and the student-athletes will be eligible to play in the bowl game Jan. 4 based on several factors. These include the acknowledgment the student-athletes did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred.” So we’re going to let you play in the big special game because you didn’t get enough training about the rules you broke, but we’re going to suspend you for five games because you broke rules that we just said you didn’t get enough training about.
Make up your mind, President Emmert. Either they had enough training, or they didn’t. If they did, start the suspension now. If they didn’t, then there’s no need to suspend them at all. You shouldn’t be able to have it both ways.
And Coach Tressel: if your players think so little of their Championship Rings and Gold Pants that they’ll trade them for a tattoo, are those really the kinds of players you want on your team?