The big story we have been following all week is the fall of Jim Tressel and the Ohio State football program. After reading the story in Sports Illustrated Tressel comes off as probably one of the slimier people in college sports.
You are led to believe that he started and ended his days by reading the bible out loud with others and then seemingly ignored what was in between the cover of the good book the rest of the day. You begin to wonder if his faith was real or if it was just another carefully built prop he used to con people as he built his football program.
I guess it doesn't really matter. He was hired to win football games and championships. That is what he ultimately will be remembered for once the dust settles in Columbus. Following the rules and attempting to run a clean program just didn't seem to be part of the job description at tOSU.
Ultimately it wasn't the violations that brought Tressel down. What tripped him up and ended his career was the cover up. So who is to blame? Tressel or the University? Who fostered and created the culture over the decades? Is Tressel totally to blame or has he has been thrown under the bus?
Ohio State didn't get dirty overnight. Athletes have been getting car deals and special privileges in Columbus for decades. Shouldn't the administration of the University itself be held accountable? Does Gordon Gee sound like he has any control over his athletic department?
The only way schools like Ohio State are going to play it straight is if they are scared straight from top to bottom. I don't think we will ever see the return of the death penalty even though it is still on the books. The last time it was used in football was in 1986. It destroyed the SMU program and also helped bring down the entire Southwest Conference.
Taking away a combination of scholarships, post season opportunities, and most importantly television revenue is probably the best answer. USC was hit extremely hard but their TV money and appearances remained intact. Ohio State collects over $22 million per year from the Big Ten TV deal. What if they lost a couple of years of collecting that revenue?
What if that revenue was distributed to other Big Ten members who weren't cheating for a couple of years? Do you think penalties such as that would have a significant impact? Do you think it would begin to start to even the playing field?
The NCAA has its work cut out for them right now. According to many insiders college football and basketball are going through one of the more corrupt cycles in their history. How many schools are attempting to stay within the rules and how many schools out there are blatantly cheating to stay on top or keep up?
Ohio State, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oregon, and Auburn are all under current NCAA scrutiny. Insiders are saying that before this cycle ends over a dozen schools could end up on some sort of probation. That sounds like quite a bit but I am old enough to remember when half of the Pac 10 and pretty much the entire Southwestern Conference was on probation.