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Friday, December 24, 2010

"Cheating not as bad if economic times are tough" and other Tatgate travesties

As Tosu's Tatgate scandal has unfolded this week,  I'm not sure whose actions and words are more appalling: the players involved, Tosu officials for trying to justify the actions of those players, or the NCAA for the seemingly nonsensical punishment-to-be-served-later they doled out.

So let's take a brief look at who did and said what to try to determine who deserves to be get top billing on Santa's Buckeye Naughty List as we head toward the Christmas weekend.

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.”

Are you fucking kidding me?!

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?"


Catie said...

Maddening to say the least. Regardless of other teams and the responses that they have. Why didn't the NCAA punish tOSU for NOT educating their athletes? Isn't that their responsibility? Nothing adds up or makes sense.

I am proud to be a Michigan Wolverine, Proud that we stood tall and admitted our "minor" offense and accepted our punishment and moved on.

The house of cards will fall for tOSU. Cam Newton, will be like Reggie Bush and years down the road it will come to light and the NC title (if won) will be in question as will his trophy. Which is unfortunate that kids in the future who had nothing to do with it will pay the price for Cam Newtons dishonesty.

phil said...

Times are tough here too so I sold my neighbors 40 foot yacht. Now they tell me that's against the law. Who knew? The judge let me off when I explained that I was trying to buy my dog a new water dish and my tropical fish needed a new aquarium filter.

bjwagner93 said...

I like the last photoshop, but you have a typo. It should be "begin" instead of "being"....

whetstonebuck said...

I appreciate the fact that for Michigan fans, who have been sitting in darkness for so long, a light has dawned. Enjoy your time in the sun at the Buck's expense. You need it and they deserve it.

However...the law of reaping and sowing is immutable (For those with a UM degree that means unchanging). As you revel at tOSU's expense, remember--what goes around, comes around (see above).

And now for something completely different (that's Billy the Kid spelled sideways)--a comment on the NCAA and their incomprehensible meting out of punishments. I cannot understand how they arrive at their decisions, but in reference to your practice-gate sanctions, wasn't the hammer brought down because it was the UM coaches who were responsible as opposed to brain-dead players of questionable maturity and ethics (see Pryor and posse)? To the NCAA, is it the difference between coaching sins of commission vs. omission? Just wondering.

I'm not trying to excuse tOSU leadership or Pryor, et al. Just trying to understand the NCAA's thought processes. Yes, Virginia, that's a huge assumption.

(A Drake's coffee cake for anyone who can identify the "Billy the Kid" reference.)

GoBlueBob said...

bgw.... must have been a tosu English major running the scoreboard.

phil said...

Billy the Kid played for Ohio State in the 30's and sold many of the buildings on the OSU campus even though he didn't own them. By the time authorities caught up with him, he was living in a plush villa in Mexico. His favorite expression was "what goes around, comes around."
(i can taste the coffee cake already)

whetstonebuck said...


You crack me up. Most creative, however, "no cake for you!"

Andy said...

The scoreboard typo was my mistake. I did not receive adequate spelling or typing instruction during the '82-'83 academic year. I have fixed it and sent it to Yost.

I pray Yost will still allow me to play on this blog.

Couver94 said...

Dear Dumbass Suckeyes and President Reddenbacher,

At least you don't see us selling our rosaries and crosses.

Little Sisters of the Poor

P.S. You'll all be getting coal for Christmas this year. Try not to sell it.

whetstonebuck said...


Actually, all this selling business is getting these guys ready for free agency in the pros.

TitleIX said...

Check out this video on YouTube:


Libby the Kid Frozen Dinners!!!
Winner winner :)
But u can keep the prize whetty. I am good with the smug knowledge that we are both of that age!

whetstonebuck said...


Or so you assume. I forgot the best part of that phrase..."sort of."

You da big winner.