Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

On irony, Ohio State and Jim Tressel

Some final thoughts on the Jim Tressel situation at Ohio State.

It’s ironic that Ohio State has only itself to blame in all this. The NCAA does not make the rules, the governing body only enforces the rules that its member schools put in place.

So because people like Ohio State President Gordon Gee cling to an antiquated fairytale of college athletics as some kind of pure amateurism, the NCAA must enforce a host of silly rules – like the one saying you can’t sell memorabilia that has been given to you if you are a player.

Maybe if the schools weren’t so interested in trying to create a utopian society in college sports, they could get rid of the little things that bog down the NCAA and drive fans batty and let them take on the types of serious violations that really matter.

College football analyst, and former Browns quarterback, Gary Danielson was on Chris Russo’s Sirius radio show on Tuesday and he made some really good points about the situation at Ohio State and college athletics in general.

First off, he rightly pointed out that players selling items has been going on for decades, probably as long as there have been college athletics. Danielson said that when he was at Purdue, players knew not only who to go to when they wanted to sell their game tickets, but who would pay the most money.

The difference now, he said, is that today’s players aren’t happy with just a little extra spending cash, they have a sense of entitlement and a need for more – money, cars, jewelry, etc. – that leads to bigger trouble with the NCAA.

He also pointed out that athletes at most, if not all, schools learn quickly where the black market is in their town for the types of services they want. The generational and cultural gap between coaches and players is too great nowadays for coaches to know all the games players run and corners they cut.

Danielson came up with a solution that actually makes a lot of sense – college athletes should be treated like Olympic athletes and be allowed to sign endorsement deals with corporate sponsors.

If Nike wants to sign Vince Young to a shoe contract while he is at Texas, or if Ford wants to support Reggie Bush, why not allow it?

The big money would go to the superstars, of course, but even if you are a back-up, in most college towns you could get a sponsorship from Bob’s Automart of Crazy Carl’s Appliance Store.

It certainly wouldn’t eliminate every problem, but would it really make things worse? Like Danielson said, the Olympics are doing it and the last time we checked, the world hadn’t come to an end.

The idea probably makes too much sense to actually be implemented; after all, we’re talking about a group of people, in college presidents, that can’t see the hypocrisy of not having a playoff at the top level of college football because it would hurt the players’ studying – but somehow it is OK for every other sport at every level in college.

But we can certainly dream of a better day. And until that day comes, stay classy Buckeye fans.


There’s no World Cup this summer, and the next European Championship is still a year away, but there is still plenty of soccer action coming this summer.

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