What I've Learned: Ohio State Sugar Bowl Edition


Back on the train commute this week and finally poring through Esquire's year-end issue which includes a host of excellent interviews in their 'What I've Learned' style, I stumbled across this gem from actor Ted Danson of all people:

If you've got integrity, it will smack you very hard when you f*ck up.  If you don't have integrity, you'll go on for a very long time beating the crap out of people, robbing, stealing — and there's nothing inside you that tells you what you're doing is wrong. Life won't even bother to slap you.

I didn't realize Ted Danson was so familiar with an Ohio State football program. Not only is there some very Pryor-esque language in there, but he even nailed the Jim Tressel response!

Yahoo's Dan Wetzel is another who's pretty familiar with the ugly underbelly of Ohio State football. In this piece, also linked in the fanshots, he uses Pryor's and OSU's shenanigans as a thank-you in his personal mission to bring about Death to the BCS. It also includes a handy timeline of the recent exposures of OSU's no-longer-alarming lack of integrity.

Pants for Tats:

Pryor took to his Twitter account and boldly declared: "I paid for my tattoos," a seemingly innocent man putting speculation to rest. OK, everything was cool.

At least until the next day when Pryor and four teammates would be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling gifts and memorabilia. In Pryor’s case, he netted $1,250 for dealing his 2008 Big Ten ring, his 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 Gold Pants. So that might be where he got the money for the tattoos. The tweet was deleted, naturally.

Huge kudos to Wetzel for the capitalization of Gold Pants.  In a program steeped with tradition, the gifting of The Gold Pants to the players as a reward for beating Michigan is still the funniest thing I've learned about OSU through all this.

Players Contradicting AD Gene Smith:

"Oh yeah, they [OSU athletic director Gene Smith and the coaches] talked about it a lot," Gibson told the paper. Oops.

AD Smith promptly declared that the issue with memorabilia sales and free tattoos was "isolated." That led to former Buckeye Antonio Pittman to tweet to the contrary: "cats been getting hookups on tatts since back in 01."

Cars for Loan:

Just as things were quieting down, the Dispatch reported on Jan. 2 that Pryor had been pulled over by police three times in the last three years driving "loaner" cars from a local used car dealer, Auto Direct. Pryor told the paper he only borrowed the cars when his own car (currently a Dodge Charger) was in the shop with repairs.
Ohio State said it was aware of two of the incidents and would look into the third. If we’re led to believe the borrowing of cars were again isolated incidents, then Pryor has some bad luck with local cops. He seemingly gets pulled over every time he receives a nice loaner. Either that or he drives them all the time, of course.

And on the issue of isolated incidents let's also remember this fine SI piece, linked back in Oct in the fanposts, on the confessions of a retired agent, who had this to say about OSU:

In November 2005, Steve and I flew to Ohio State to talk to receiver Santonio Holmes. We met him outside the football building, and he said, "Listen, I want to save you the time. We don't need to meet. I've been taking money from [an agent] the last couple years, and he's been taking care of my family too."

Tressel History

Then there's Jim Tressel. Remember all the lovely things that came out about him and his Youngstown State program during the Maurice Clarett mess? That along with four national championships they were:

found guilty of major NCAA violations in 2000 after a former player admitted receiving cash and automobiles from a booster.

As I was thinking about all this and tonight's Shady Bowl, I was reminded of a quote from longtime BSD contributor jessedot about college coaches:

Joe Paternos are once-in-a-lifetime things. Jim Tressels, on the other hand are not. They are well compensated professionals, who can even comport themselves with dignity while winning football games.

That's the thing, isn't it? Dignity and Integrity sound similar but really aren't. A sweatervest can give the appearance of dignity, but The Ohio State football program has no integrity. Terrelle Pryor, Gene Smith and Jim Tressel have none. There's nothing inside them that tells them what they're doing is wrong.

And, mostly, life hasn't even bothered to slap them for it.

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