First, there's Terrelle Pryor, the face - and tatted arm - of Tattoo U. Despite 30 wins as a starter, three B10 titles and three BCS bowls in his three years at the helm in C-bus, he's still not as beloved by the Scarlet and Gray legions as QBs past with similar or even lesser records. His "I would DOMINATE" attitude and then, well, not dominating despite the stats has led to a feeling of underachievement.
So when the story breaks, like any college kid, he takes to Twitter to defend himself with his now-infamous, "I paid for my tattoos. Go Bucks" tweet. Only one problem. He didn't. At least not regular price.
But even worse are the things that came out in addition to the "tats for 'graphs" portion of the scandal: the selling out of his Buckeye soul. Pryor pawned his - wait for it - "Sportsmanship Award" from the 2008 Fiesta Bowl, his 2008 Big 10 Championship ring and, probably worst in the eyes of Buckeye fans, the little Home Shopping Network "gold pants" trinket Buckeye players get for beating Michigan.
Granted, after beating U-M seven times in a row, for many Buckeye players these pieces of jewelry are probably lying around their apartments like old Maxim magazines at a frat house. But you never, ever sell that stuff. And when you're still playing?! Yikes.
Then there's coach Tressel. According to Bucknuts.com:
Tressel said the coaches need to make things “even more crystal clear” in terms of compliance issues. Says the “buck stops” with the coaching staff. “Don’t feel good that we fell short.”
Yeah, unless you tell players not to cheat, damnit, kids will be kids and they'll cheat. Oh, I'm sorry, 'not comply with the compliance issues.' "Uh, coach said we can't take an envelope of money from a booster. But he didn't say nothin' about selling a $39 piece of jewelry for, you know, like $500 bucks to some dude who really likes the team."
In the post-Clarett Era in C-bus, are we really to believe you're not going over the rules a little better? If not, that points to much bigger problems than Tatgate.
And who cares what punishment the NCAA metes out, What Would Woody Do? You think Woody would let a player who did this and play in the bowl game? Bo used to send kids home - who were already in California for the Rose Bowl - back to Michigan if they came back to the hotel a couple minutes past curfew! What would Woody think of his QB selling his gold pants for beating Michigan?
Continuing on, my personal fave in all this is Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith's comments at the press conference he held with coach Tressel yesterday. According to this AP story:
Smith said the punishment should be mitigated because of how the players used the money they received.
“The time this occurred with these young men was a very tough time in our society. It’s one of the toughest economic environments in our history,” he said. “The decisions that they made they made to help their families.”
Not only is that "excuse" complete horseshit, but it's a slap in the face to all the other kids, not only on your own school's team, but across the country who are in similar or worse financial situations yet still didn't cheat. Who toughed it out and played by the rules.
Furthermore, did Ohio State's AD just basically give the go-ahead to Buckeye players to skirt the rules if the player decides his or his family is struggling financially? Sure sounded that way. Cheating's okay if the economy is in the toilet? Hell, folks in the SEC are probably even laughing at that one!
This "excuse" is even more laughable and bullshitty because it doesn't mesh with the NCAA's stated reason for letting the to-be-punished players play in the Sugar Bowl was the Newton Defense: "I didn't know."
Which dovetails into our final party in this clusterfuck: the NCAA. Who knew they could top their head-scratchingly nonsensical reasoning for not punishing Cam Newton after his dad admitted he shopped his son to Mississippi State. But they sure come close in their details behind their punishment of Tattoo U.
As you probably know by now, Pryor and four of his teammates got a 5 game suspension for their part in all the shenanigans but those suspensions start next fall -- meaning all the players can suit up for OSU's Sugar Bowl game against Arkansas.
WTF!? you ask?
According to the AP story linked above:
The NCAA did not suspend the players for Jan. 4 Sugar Bowl against the eighth-ranked Razorbacks because they “did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred.”
Unbelievable. Simply fucking unbelievable.
You know, if you read the site regularly, I never once said Michigan shouldn't have been punished for the recent NCAA practice violations they got nailed for. I never blamed local newspaper columnists or bought into the "but everybody else is doing it" highway speeder defense. My feeling was, if we broke the rules, we broke the rules and we have to pay the price.
I'm not so sure anymore.
Let's see now: Cam Newton's dad admits to shopping him for $180K but Cam "didn't know" so he doesn't miss so much as a down and is free to play in the National Championship game. Ohio State players receive improper benefits - which they admit to! - but get to play in their team's big Sugar Bowl game because "they didn't know." Michigan practices go like 10-15 minutes long due to extra stretching and U-M gets placed on three years probation and loses scholarships.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
Oh, hey, one final question: how the hell are each of these busted Buckeyes going to repay the money to charity that's part of their penalty if they're each in such dire financial straits? Better account for all those gold pants.
Who knew that when Buck fans and bloggers refer to their team as tOSU the "t" stood for "tattoo?"