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Thursday, December 30, 2010

What did the Sugar Bowl CEO know and when did he know it?

ED. NOTE:  This is one of those stories that gets me so pissed off, I have a hard time writing a coherent column.  So please bear with me as I try not to simply segue into rant mode.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan admits he lobbied Ohio State to keep the Tat Five (and the 6th dude nobody's really talking about) eligible for the game against Arkansas on January 4th. 

Sugar Bowl CEO...and NCAA violations adviser
Even better, while the suspensions of the Tat Five (and the 6th dude nobody cares about) were announced on December 22nd, folks will be happy to know that the CEO of the Sugar Bowl was told about possible suspensions on December 7th - two full weeks before they were handed out publicly.

Yes, you read that correctly: bowl officials were given an early heads up regarding ongoing NCAA investigations, violations and school disciplinary matters.  Awesome!  No potential problem there, huh?

Apparently Ohio State AD Gene Smith told Hoolahan they were trying to push the suspensions back to the 2011 season and Hoolahan told Smith how strongly he felt about the players participating in the Sugar Bowl:

"I made the point that anything that could be done to preserve the integrity of this year's game, we would greatly appreciate it.  That appeal did not fall on deaf ears, and I'm extremely excited about it, that the Buckeyes are coming in at full strength and with no dilution."

Oh, that's rich.  Did he really say "integrity?"  Is there video?  Because I'd love to see if he said it with a straight face.  Or, like some Hollywood actor, it took him several takes ("I made the point that anything that could be done to preserve the int... preserve the integ... *snicker* ...the integret-bwahaha!  I'm sorry, can I try that again?").

Then again, maybe the reporter got it wrong and mistyped "integrity" when he really said "ratings" or "future TV contracts" or "assloads of money."

Yeah, yeah, I know - he was using integrity to mean "the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire."  I'm guessing the irony of its more common usage -
"adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty" - was lost on him.

Of course the bigger irony of it all is that while his lobbying efforts proved to indeed be successful, the game is now certain to have a lot of things, but integrity definitely won't be one of them.  Because while all the bodies will be on the field, the game will now be more diluted than if Tressel had the balls to sit the Tat Five (and the other dude).

And Hoolahan wasn't alone in his lobbying efforts.  The Dispatch article states that OSU officials, along with Big Ten commissioner Jjim Delany, were also among those who successfully lobbied the NCAA to reinstate the players for the Sugar Bowl.

Yes, that Jim Delany.  The one who blasted the NCAA for its Cam Newton decision saying "there ought to be accountability.  There ought to be consequences" and questioned the NCAA interpretation of its rules:

"This was an opportunity to apply a very reasonable concept.  They chose to go with a very high standard instead of what's more of a reasonable application given the facts and reality that we're dealing with."

Exactly.  A "reasonable application" - i.e. letting 5 dudes (and a 6th guy we shouldn't even bother mentioning anymore) who got busted for getting extra benefits and selling shit against the rules start their suspension when its more convenient.

Like, say, after a bowl game.  Part of the NCAA's little-known but very, very, very reasonable "Start your suspension when you want" bylaw.

A bylaw AD Smith - and especially Tressel - should be ashamed they embraced.

Surprisingly, it's a large number of Buckeye fans who are disappointed that the players are getting a Sugar Bowl pass.  Something not lost on Hoolahan who said that he was aware that many Scarlet and Gray fans felt that the players should not be allowed to play in his bowl game.

"I appreciate and fully understand the Midwestern values and ethics behind that.  But I'm probably thinking of this from a selfish standpoint."

Gee, you think?

And I love how he says "Midwestern values" and "ethics behind that," like they're a couple of quaint little concepts only rubes who don't use his definition of "integrity" adhere to.

But please don't say you fully understand them.  Take it from this Midwesterner - you don't.



wingedhelmet said...

Perhaps the CEO has cut a deal with the "Tat 5" and a player to be named later allowing him to share in the profits from the sale of their Sugar Bowl - *participant (loser)* rings and jerseys.

tOSU had and still has the choice of making the correct decision if they hope to retain any *vestige* of whatever good reputation they may have enjoyed.

As for the NCAA "they are who we thought they were".

TitleIX said...

Hmmm. Midwestern values? Yes, aint we trite?

Here is an idea.
Since all they care about is money, let's start a boycott the Sugar Bowl campaign.
Kill the ratings.
That is something they will respond to.
How about contacting the advertisers and offering to avoid their products?

Integrity you say?
At least WE have some.

Who's in?

srudoff said...

The book Death to the BCS calls out the Sugar Bowl and it's CEo big time. The guy makes 600k a year to organize ONE exhibition football game. Bowl Executives "scout" possible opponents all year long, even though many of the bowls are tied into conferences and slotted oppponents. These scouting trips are just a free way for bowl execs to see a game and get wined and dined at the expense of the colleges. It's amazing what a sham these bowl games are.

It's a GREAT book that I'd recommend to any football fan.

whetstonebuck said...


Just because you are the founder of AA (aneurisms anonymous),

"Hi, Yost,"

doesn't mean you have to fall off the wagon.

As Tim, the Tool Man, Taylor would say, "Let it go. Let it go."

Bigasshammm said...

Again nothing new is being learned in all of this. NCAA football is a crime on many levels but somehow they justify it. What a joke. I will state again that I will lose whatever respect I had for JT if he plays those players. Sure he may be playing them only because he is being told to but then he's just begging for the money like anyone else.
It's a shame that this has to be tUOS because all we look like is Michigan haters when this could be any other school and we would still be saying the same things. It's not about the school involved it's about the NCAA.

srudoff said...

If Tressel is told to play the guys by his AD, how can you lose respect for him? That doesn't make sense.

BaggyPantsDevil said...

Just in case L'affaire de Newton hasn’t convinced us of who and what really drives college football, now we have Tat/Ring/Gold Pants-gate to drive the point home.

I have the suspicion that the NCAA is far more comfortable dealing with violations of its rules years after the fact. It’s far easier to mete out justice after games have been played and the money’s been made (a la Reggie Bush) than it is to yank star athletes out of big money bowl games.

The age of the internet—with its Facebook indiscretions and feisty bloggers—results in public knowledge of potential rules violations almost as they happen. This, in turn, puts the NCAA in the apparently uncomfortable position of having to frequently punish the very athletes who are its meal ticket. I have a feeling that the Cam Newton story will not have a happy ending and that after he’s in the NFL “new information” will surface and then it is possible that wins and titles will be vacated and trophies returned. Of course, by then, no one will really care and all the money will have already been made.

Andy said...

I'm just happy my "Tat-5" creation has caught on. I knew I should have gone the trademark office before I put it up on the delicious feed.

Now please, NO more big news today. I have a Miss State KYF to create and in true Andy final exam fashion, I have done nothing to prepare.

BaggyPantsDevil said...

I’m with srudoff in my belief that bowl games are now a cancerous parasite on college football. And that’s not easy for me to say since I grew up spending New Year’s Day watching bowl after bowl after bowl. The Sugar Bowl CEO will likely claim he earns his salary by providing a compelling matchup in his game but—to me—compelling matchups happen every Saturday in college football because of traditional rivalries and the passionate nature of the game. The meddling—and profiteering--CEO type is not only superfluous but an actual detriment to what makes college football so wonderful.

wingedhelmet said...


Under the first commercial use provisions you own the "Tat 5" copyright and I will cease and desist immediately. Besides I am thinking that something even better might come out of this situation, that is, of course once the inVestigation has been completed and the DSSYW classes begin in earnest at tOSU.

Bigasshammm said...

As a coach of his stature his reputation should be more important to him then his paycheck. Therefore if he truly believes those players should be benched then he benches them regardless of what the AD says. Tressel's gotten to Godlike status in OH and therefore there is no way the AD could ever fire him because he didn't listen to him and play his golden players.Therefore no matter what happens if they play in the game any respect for Tressel as a quality coach and teacher is gone and he might as well go to the SEC.

srudoff said...

Tress just announced that all 5 are coming back for their senior seasons and that he made them decide on coming back before allowing them even on the plane to New Orleans. That's pretty ballsy. He said it wouldn't be fair if they were allowed to play and then left to skirt punishment.

Not sure if he can hold them to that of course but he made them pledge to him that they would return.

Andy said...

Well... I guess that is one way to reduce the PR damage caused by this mess.

I gotta give it to JT, he certainly has strong crisis management skills. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand the NCAA basically told him the players need to play in the Sugar Bowl or else -- and on the other hand he knew those same players had the NFL option to avoid missing 5 games next year.

It will be interesting to see if any of them "go back on their promise".

phil said...

Todd Blackledge and Brad Nessler will call the Sugar Bowl.

Todd: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl.
Brad: Tonight you aren't just going to watch college football. You are going to watch a game full of integrity.
Todd: So right you are Brad. And tonight's Sugar Bowl is sponsored by Ebay - Where you can sell anything!
Brad: And also sponsored by Terry's Tats for all your tattoo needs. We offer financing or bartering. Get that tattoo to help your family TODAY!!

Bigasshammm said...

I still say 3 of them scoot for the NFL. Saying they're coming back for their senior seasons is the same as them apologizing. It's just hollow words to try to wash over this whole thing.

TitleIX said...

Dontja think that if the point of the sales were to help your Mom, you would just give her the stuff to sell????
They pulled the 'momma' card.
Just like they wil pull the sorry, gotta help my family and go pro deck of cards.....

This is mind-numbingly wrong on soooooo many levels.
But we will continue on like lemmings flying over the cliff together or moths to the flame and this will all blow over til the next instance of douchebaggery.

Speaking of which, someone should remind Lou Holthtz that you cant profit off ones amateur status even if the 'trinkets' were given to you......AS A REWARD FOR YOUR AMATEUR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE..........aaaggh

Someone please make these bad men stop...

TitleIX said...

Oh, and Tressel has no balls.
As the head coach you can decide who does or does not play...for whatever reason.
And if the AD is holding you hostage then how about exercising ones integrity and calling him out? You think ol Tress cant find another job??
I call Bullshit!
Oh no, ALL of them from the NCAA, the BCS, the AD, and the HC are guilty as sin.

/end f lion rant

srudoff said...

The deadline to declare for the draft is January 15th - so we soon shall see - if the deadline were in, say March, I think you might be right. No way do they pledge this, then play, then declare 11 days later.

And when they don't declare, I'll of course expect an "I was wrong" from Title 9 and BAH. Along with a "Tressel really is a great guy that plays by the rules." and finally a "not only are you a good looking man, sru, you're also very powerful". (BAH is excused from that last part if he wants).

Mikoyan said...

I think all of this is one of the reasons why I enjoy watching the Army-Navy game and include Navy in my list of favorite teams. They may not be the best teams out there but when they play it seems like they are just there to play.

bigGexpress said...

Wow, this is officially ridiculous. I cannot believe that. Nothing surprises me anymore.

TitleIX said...

Breaking news.....Tater ineligible for the bowl game as he did not meet University standards.
Betting its the grades

srudoff said...


there goes gardner's fake medical redshirt

Andy said...

No way Gardner plays in the game. They will put the scout team guy (Jeremy Gallon) in first.

Mikoyan said...

There was a pretty interesting editorial in the Washington Post yesterday about the whole thing. And there was another one today about sports donations.

Mikoyan said...

Here is the editorial about the Sugar Bowl thing:

And the other: