FanDuel - WFBC

December 21, 2011

NCAA Slaps OSU on the Wrist, USC Still Feeling Groin-Kicked: The Ohio State sanctions have come, with a one-year bowl ban (that will also prevent them from playing in the Big Ten Championship next year), a nine-scholarship reduction, three years of probation and a five-year show-cause penalty for ousted coach Jim Tressel that effectively prevents him from working at a NCAA school. Now many USC fans are up in arms about how this compares to the Trojans' sanctions, where the fact that the coach should have known about one player receiving improper benefits resulted in double the bowl ban and triple the scholarship reduction. The NCAA says that the difference was that USC "lacked institutional control," while OSU merely "failed to properly monitor." SI's Stewart Mandel says that the Buckeyes' penalties were the NCAA hitting the reset button, essentially not wanting to use USC as a precedent after having penalizing the Trojans for their "adversarial response" to the investigation.

posted by Etrigan to football at 08:47 AM - 26 comments

I am giving up college sports as my new years' resolution. I can no longer deal with how dirty every aspect is.

posted by scully at 09:24 AM on December 21

Guess Ohio State must bring more revenue to the NCAA than USC.

posted by cixelsyd at 09:51 AM on December 21

Guess Ohio State must bring more revenue to the NCAA than USC.

The prospect of two Ohio State-Michigan games a year? Ka-ching.

posted by etagloh at 11:27 AM on December 21

Guess Ohio State must bring more revenue to the NCAA than USC.

Really? I think not since the teams Ohio St. plays (e.g., Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Penn State) have huge stadiums of their own that would be full if the team played first- vs second-team scrimmages while I think the teams USC plays don't do nearly as well.

I think the answer is more in the area of the same anti-West Coast bias that pervades American sports hierarchy and media.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:52 AM on December 21

I think the answer is more in the area of the same anti-West Coast bias that pervades American sports hierarchy and media.

I think it's less a bias than it was the NCAA's desire to look like they were actually doing something. When USC's violations came down the pike, the NCAA had the chance to say, "We will not stand for this, and we are willing to sacrifice this huge, heralded, money-making program to show the world that we are serious."

But they forgot that no one would A) be able to change their program's ethics on a dime (a lot of the Buckeyes' violations were before the USC sanctions were handed down), and B) think they would get caught anyway. So when a bigger (by number of people, by school hierarchy involvement) scandal popped up in Ohio, they quickly realized that a proportionate response would be perilously close to the death penalty -- and then Miami happened, and they realized that there was no way they couldn't give that school the death penalty unless they just gave up entirely. So you'll hear a lot about how "every case is decided individually" and "this is a whole new regime," and Oregon will get a slap on the wrist and everyone will just agree to forget about that spike in enforcement in 2010.

posted by Etrigan at 12:52 PM on December 21

I think the answer is more in the area of the same anti-West Coast bias that pervades American sports hierarchy and media.

I think the NCAA is just looking out for the quality of pro team rosters and realizes that players like Ki-Jana Carter and Evan Royster have a better chance of making an impact on the NFL than players like Reggie Bush and Leinart do.

posted by beaverboard at 01:07 PM on December 21

I think it's less a bias than it was the NCAA's desire to look like they were actually doing something.

Yeah, I think this is the obvious explanation. The NCAA's M.O. has been to make an example out of one relatively high-profile school that's looking a bit too big for its boots every so often to show that they Mean Business, but deliver wrist-slaps in the intervening years, because if they actually Meant Business, then the billion-dollar business that is college football would be out of business.

posted by etagloh at 01:51 PM on December 21

Guess Ohio State must bring more revenue to the NCAA than USC.

I think the answer is more in the area of the same anti-West Coast bias that pervades American sports hierarchy and media.

Or, the answer could be - unless you try to dumb both situations down to the most generic statement of "players got money", one might be able to realize that the infractions and paths of investigations of the USC and OSU situations have pretty much nothing in common, so why would the penalties mirror each other?

Any Ohio St fan that cries about these penalties needs to simply shut up. But likewise, anyone else whining about USC, or equality, or slaps on the wrist is trying to grind an equally lame axe. Yes, the problem is with the whole system.

posted by littleLebowski at 02:11 PM on December 21

one might be able to realize that the infractions and paths of investigations of the USC and OSU situations have pretty much nothing in common

We're not talking about one school that gave its athletes grades for no work and another school that bought hookers for recruits. We're talking about one school where a player's family took money and the NCAA said the program should have known vs. a school where several players took money and the program did know. That's more than "pretty much nothing."

The only dimension in which the USC infractions appear to be larger than the OSU infractions was (maybe) total amount of money. And yet, in every dimension of the sanctions save one -- a show-cause penalty of a guy that no college will hire anyway -- USC got hit harder.

Yes, the problem is with the whole system.

One can hold this position while still recognizing that any comparison of the violations and the penalties leans heavily toward USC having gotten the sharp end of the stick.

posted by Etrigan at 03:04 PM on December 21

Any Ohio St fan that cries about these penalties needs to simply shut up

I don't think you'll find too many of us crying. It seems to be pretty fair, unless you live on the west coast, of course. The situations were apples and oranges, and the NCAA handled them as such. I'm not familiar with what self-imposed sanctions USC placed on itself, but could that be the reason for the perceived difference in penalty?

posted by tahoemoj at 03:41 PM on December 21

I'm not familiar with what self-imposed sanctions USC placed on itself, but could that be the reason for the perceived difference in penalty?

USC never self-sanctioned over l'affaire Bush. Many in the college football media world have put forth the theory that the reason the NCAA came down so hard was USC's insistence that they shouldn't be expected to monitor their players' families -- had they shown a little remorse, regardless of whether they felt it, the punishment would have been more in line with what OSU got.

And the situations were more Honeycrisp-and-McIntosh than apples-and-oranges -- players got money, there was a single point of failure in the monitoring system, and there's plenty of "the system is rotten to the core" to go around.

posted by Etrigan at 03:56 PM on December 21

OSU should have self-imposed a postseason ban this year back when they had a chance, and they probably would have gotten just the scholarship reductions and missed out on a crappy bowl game rather than missing out next year when they have a chance to be relevant against.

posted by holden at 04:54 PM on December 21

there's plenty of "the system is rotten to the core" to go around.

Agreed there. As a Buckeyes fan, on one hand I can't help but feel a bit betrayed by Tressel and his facade of law and order; on the other, I think it was just their turn to get caught. I guess I've come to the conclusion that it's impossible to embrace big time college football without employing a certain amount of moral relativism.

posted by tahoemoj at 05:27 PM on December 21

The NCAA is a cartel. I'd say let's abolish their anti-trust immunity, slap them with a few lawsuits, and then get on with a college sports program that actually makes sense (cents should be secondary).

I have zero respect for those who mete out these arbitrary punishments on the one hand while pocketing millions with the other.

posted by slackerman at 07:40 PM on December 21

Egg nog alert: I named Penn State players rather than Ohio State players in my post above. Apologies.

posted by beaverboard at 08:01 PM on December 21

I don't think you'll find too many of us crying.

I'm with you, tahoe. I should've actually said "any of us Ohio St. fans, ..." The majority of folks around here are of the same mindset as you and I. No complaint against the NCAA (maybe in regards to "dragging out" assigning the penalties), but disgust toward the players, betrayal toward Tressel (like you said) and anger at AD Gene Smith (his arrogance and the whole bowl ban situation - like holden said). But, they're plenty of clowns running around here, too. I still don't see any valid argument in remotely comparing USC to OSU, but that's going to be like trying to convince a Michael Vick hater to "let it go" since he served his time (or vice versa).

posted by littleLebowski at 11:12 AM on December 22

To the Ohio St. fans that for some reason cannot see how USC fans would be upset by the relatively small penalty the Buckeyes received compared to USC let me make a somewhat extreme analogy for you. A parent discovers that their kid has been cooking up and selling meth out of the parent's home; the parent stops the practice on the spot. What should the parent do next? Call the authorities or help the kid get rid of the lab? One of these universities called the police and got the equivalent of a manslaughter conviction. The other tried to cover it up, and got a Paris Hilton style DUI. For those of you who will say, "It wasn't the university it was Tressell." A university hires a coach to be the representative of that institution, in other words: In all things Buckeye Football, Tressell was the Ohio State University.

posted by booda_lama at 12:44 PM on December 22

OK, but what if the kid whose parents called the police was cooking meth and the kid whose parents covered up for him was selling weed?

Honestly, I don't pretend to know the extent of all of the violations of both teams, so please let me know if this is way off base. Weren't USC's violations concerning Reggie Bush much more severe than OSU's "tattoos for jerseys" violations? And, as you noted, the scope of OSU's cover up, wherein Tressel lied to cover up the acts of multiple players, was much broader than USC's discovery and prompt reaction. Not judging either, just making the "apples and oranges" argument again.

I think we all know that the state of college football is fairly rotten, and as each university slips up and gets caught for its own particular brand of violation, the NCAA will dole out punishments it sees as appropriate. There is no way these punishments can be completely consistent, by virtue of the fact that the violations aren't consistent.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:09 PM on December 22

Weren't USC's violations concerning Reggie Bush much more severe than OSU's "tattoos for jerseys" violations?

Terrelle Pryor is known to have received tens of thousands of dollars in cash for memorabilia and for hanging out with guys who had money to throw around. Reggie Bush's family got about $300K, which figure includes use of a house, and Reggie himself got a limo ride to the 2005 Heisman ceremony (not the one where he won).

Twenty-seven other Buckeyes (then-current and former) were implicated in the original SI story. If you go by sheer scale, then probably the total value of the cash and services received by all those people may or may not exceed $300K. But really, by the time you get past amounts of money that come in stacks you can count, is the total amount the issue?

posted by Etrigan at 03:59 PM on December 22

I guess I agree, then, that there is some severe inconsistency. Maybe USC did get hosed. I just have a hard time believing that it's because of some east coast or OSU bias.

So in essence, I guess I find your original comment in the thread reasonable. Long way to go for that, huh?

posted by tahoemoj at 04:13 PM on December 22

You're a better man than I, tahoe, but I can't let some of this silliness slide. Just as one example, Twenty-seven other Buckeyes (then-current and former) were implicated in the original SI story ... In your world, I should be able to get the NCAA to impose some wonderfully horrific sanctions on Michigan by simply tossing out here (since that would approximate the level of journalism put forth by SI and ESPN throughout this debacle) that "all signs point toward Brady Hoke and no less than 41 players being involved in a black market organ harvesting ring". There, that looks good to me, and no matter what the NCAA proves, since this is the starting point, that should really screw Michigan.

The original allegations, errr rumors, such as what you're trying to pass off as fact, were unfounded and don't appear in the NCAA findings - heck a couple players so vehemently denied them and had proof to the contrary, that they considered defamation lawsuits. But if that helps your case to belabor the "woe is me" for USC, have at it (a USC program, who contrary to a previous post, was not at all cooperative, which according to some reports helped add to their penalty). Tressel royally fucked up, OSU had a hand in it, USC got the screws put to them, and we can all agree that the NCAA has some "sham-iness" to it. But, this hand-wringing over OSU's supposed hand-slap is near comical.

This thread has degenerated into a couple OSU fans vs a couple anti-USC fans, and that's not what SpoFi is about (unless the Red Sox and Yankees are being discussed ... I kid, I kid), so I'll try to bow out and will be visiting my therapist about that "let it go" thing.

posted by littleLebowski at 08:57 PM on December 22

Wow, yeah, you totally caught me. Some guy on a website making something up out of thin air is totally the same thing as an extensively reported story by the news source of record in the American sports industry.

Tressel royally fucked up, OSU had a hand in it, USC got the screws put to them, and we can all agree that the NCAA has some "sham-iness" to it. But, this hand-wringing over OSU's supposed hand-slap is near comical.

Tressel didn't "fuck up," Tressel actively lied to make sure that his best players were on the field and then had the audacity to claim that his "integrity and proven history of promoting rules compliance" should be a mitigating factor in the case. Geez, your honor, what about all the banks I didn't rob?

posted by Etrigan at 10:54 PM on December 22

I don't care if a sports story is "extensively reported" by you, me or SI ... I don't care if a story on childhood obesity is "extensively reported" by an 8-year-old or the American Academy of Pediatrics ... Oh, if only "reported" = "true". If the stories are "extensively wrong", can't be substantiated by anyone including a governing body and are even proven incorrect - no matter the source, they're all essentially flaming bags of crap. But, if you want to cite it as gospel despite the facts as they are known, I can't stop you.

And I'm at a loss how a statement such as "Tressel royally fucked up" can be interpreted as somehow minimizing his fault or trying to absolve anyone of anything? HE tried to cite mitigating factors, not me or anyone else in this thread. Everything you then soapboxed points to Tressel completely fucking up with intent - no argument from me, so what exactly are we debating there?

I've admitted to being an OSU fan, while talking about a level of fault on the university's part and refusing to be a Tressel apologist. On the other hand, just maybe, could your allegiances be the source of your biased FPP headline and your vitriol on this one?

GODDAMMIT, Kansas. I went to USC and Michigan, and you have to hire Weis into the Big 12 so I can't see either of my teams tune up on him every year?

posted by Etrigan at 11:23 AM on December 09

I don't think the scenarios are remotely similar, but I feel for innocent USC players and fans stuck with the lingering penalties and we're in agreement the NCAA has real issues overall. But like a friend said, even though I've been guilty of it, it's a 5-year-old's tactic of "yeah, I broke the vase, but sister didn't clean her room either and you didn't ground her as much." USC complaining about OSU is like OSU complaining about Auburn, Miami or Oregon. We can debate about the inequality of the "crimes" all we want ... every situation is different in some way, but if you don't eff up in the first place, then there's no debate about your punishment.

I said I'd TRY to bow out ....

posted by littleLebowski at 01:27 AM on December 23

I apologize for not stating my "allegiances" up front.

However, I dispute that my title was biased, and I continue to maintain that crying that the OSU and USC violations and punishments aren't "remotely similar" or "have pretty much nothing in common" requires willful self-delusion. You can line up virtually every facet of the violations -- just the ones that are proven and/or admitted -- and make an obvious and direct comparison. And of course you can do the same thing to the sanctions and see that one school got a significantly worse punishment, and that it's not at all proportional.

posted by Etrigan at 07:56 AM on December 23

The headline takes an editorial viewpoint that's pro-USC. Given the link you used, something like "USC Fans Question Ohio State Punishment" probably would have been less questioned.

I have trouble getting worked up about controversies like this because I have no faith in the NCAA to be consistent and fair. The way they enforce their rules on big-name programs is a crapshoot. It's like hoping for equitable treatment from FIFA.

posted by rcade at 09:10 AM on December 23

Moral of the story?

Don't try and fight the NCAA.

They care less about the infraction and the response than they do the your response to the investigation.

posted by Bonkers at 03:49 PM on December 23

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