Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jim Tressel: The NCAAs Posterboy for Hipocrisy

On Tuesday Jim Tressel, the head coach of the Ohio State football team, was suspended 2 games and fined $250,000 for failing to report knowledge that some of his players had sold jerseys, championship rings and other memorabilia to a local tattoo parlor in exchange for free services and cash.  Tressel has also been charged with lying to the NCAA about his knowledge of the entire situation.

While some people may look at this penalty against Tressel as harsh or fair I see it more as just another example of how the NCAA is not only corrupt but also hypocritical in its treatment of players versus coaches/administrators.

In order to fully understand my outrage over the "hefty punishment" which I feel is more a slap on the wrist you need to know the full story.  Here is an excerpt from the official NCAA press release on the players and the selling of memorabilia:

Five football student-athletes from The Ohio State University must sit out the first five games of the 2011 season for selling awards, gifts and university apparel and receiving improper benefits in 2009, the NCAA has determined.

A sixth football student-athlete must sit out the first game in 2011 for receiving discounted services in violation of NCAA rules. The violations fall under the NCAA’s preferential treatment bylaws.

In addition to missing five games next season, student-athletes Mike Adams, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas must repay money and benefits ranging in value from $1,000 to $2,500. The repayments must be made to a charity.

Here is where my problem begins.  According to everything I have read on this the only items these players sold were technically their own property.  They sold their own jerseys (which they either buy from the team or are given to making it their own property) and their own championship rings which they were given for their accomplishments on the field (once again their own property).  How is it fair that the school penalize student athletes for selling their own property?

This is where the hypocrisy begins.  The NCAA fines/suspends these players for selling their property, fine I get that.  Let's move ahead, pretending like that in itself isn't ridiculous enough, and see where Jim tressel enters the whole mess.

In September of 2010 Tressel signed a compliance form with both Ohio State University and the NCAA saying that he had no knowledge of any possible violations.  The in December it was reported that Tressel had received a specific tip stating that the players were in fact breaking NCAA rules.  He denied this and once again stated that he had no knowledge of any wrong doing by any of his players.

Then this week a series of emails between Tressel and a lawyer (whose name has yet to be disclosed) were released to the public.  In the emails, which began in June of 2010, clearly state that an investigation into a local tattoo parlor had discovered that numerous players had sold gear and memorabilia to the tattoo parlor in exchange for services and cash.  Tressel's reply to the email was "Thanks for your help...keep me posted as to what if anything I need to do.  I will keep pounding these kids hoping they grow up."  Then the emails stopped and Tressel did nothing about the violations made by his players.

So not only did Tressel know for a fact that some of his players had committed serious infractions and would be made ineligible by the NCAA if discovered he then lied to both Oho State University and the NCAA about having any knowledge of wrongdoing. 

And for all of his crimes what is his punishment?  He will miss the first two games on the 2011 schedule: Home dates with Akron and Toledo on Sept. 3 and Sept. 10 which could both be won with my on the sidelines coaching and then pay $250,000 in fines which equates to roughly 14% of his annual salary.  Oh yeah real stern punishment.

Its also not even Tressel's first run in with this sort of thing.  When he was the head coach at Youngstown State in 1991 there was a NCAA investigation into the school when star quarterback Ray Issac was discovered to have received $10,000 and access to cars from boosters.  There were also incidents at Ohio State with star running back Maurice Clarrett who claimed that boosters as well as Tressel himself provided him with money and other gifts in return for signing and playing with Ohio State.  Finally there is former Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith who was also given gifts from boosters with the apparent knowledge of Tressel.

Now its been established that Tressel has a past of being dishonest and breaking the rules in order to win yet there was no mention of this by Ohio State or the NCAA when the suspension for Tressel was announced which brings me back to the hypocrisy of this whole ordeal.

How is it fair that Tressel is suspended for only 2 games, for lying and withholding information, while his players, who simply sold property that legally belonged to them, get suspended for 5 games?  Are both parties not equally guilty and should they therefore not face the same punishment?  But this is just business as usual for the NCAA when it comes to screwing over students and going easy on coaches/administrators.

Remember back in October of 2009 when Oklahoma State Heisman trophy candidate Dez Bryant was suspended for the entire 2009 season for having lunch with Deoin Sanders at his home.  All the two did was talk football and that for some reason merits being suspended for an entire year?  The suspension cost Bryant, who was at point considered a top 5 pick, to lose millions of dollars as his draft stock plummeted due to the suspension. 

The NCAA is an organization that makes hundreds of millions of dollars from college football and yet the players are given nothing in return (financially) and then are penalized when they try and make some money for themselves, or their families, on the side.  I'm not sure of the exact rule in the NCAA Handbook these players broke but I bet its reads, "No NCAA athlete is allowed to make any money from being a nationally recognized athlete...unless the NCAA gets a cut" or at least something to that effect.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The University has levied the 2 games and fine, not the NCAA. The NCAA will have to review and levy their own sanctions, which will no doubt be more severe. This is Ohio State trying to preempt NCAA action.