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|
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 -
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.