One kiss for one car? (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
I for one am totally enjoying this offseason. Normally bloggers around the country have to beat the same horse about depth charts, recruiting, and coaching changes (or in Penn State's case, age). But a variety of off the field "situations" at Ohio State have put the spotlight squarely on the shoulders of morality in college athletics.
Fortunately for all of us, someone named Jeremiah from Men of the Scarlet and Gray has, how do you say, a unique perspective regarding the issue.Trying to paraphrase Jeremiah's words wouldn't give the pure gold that you are about to read justice. So here we go.
I firmly believe from the bottom of my broken sports heart that bending the rules or breaking the rules happens at every institution where sports is played from pee wee football to the NFL.
In case you didn't know, illegal recruit is a big issue in pee wee football. I was once bribed with a Big Wheel and some Fun Dip to play for a rival team - true story. Right out of the gate, one of Jerry's (Can I call you Jerry?) first sentences throws up the world's largest blanket at not only college and NFL football put Pee Wee football. Interesting, but it gets better.
In college sports only two schools have never had a major violation against their athletic program. Penn State is one and (I think) Standford (SIC) is the other.
Penn State's lack of major violations can be attributed to the program Joe Paterno has run for over 40 years. That is not to say Penn State is without issue. We've had some issues in the past, no doubt about it; but getting busted drinking Cruzan Mango Rum and "buying" a free car are not even in the same stratosphere.
Let’s be honest though: over the last 10 years no school has had more player arrests then PSU in the Big Ten. And if you have ever been to State College, PA you know there is little for those players to do to get caught in and if they are getting cars or cash there is no real media out there to dig deep to find it for the NCAA to investigate.
Ding, Ding, Ding! We have a winner. Now the utter ridiculousness of this last sentence can not go unaddressed. Jeremiah does have a point, our players have had some issues with the law in recent seasons. We had the apartment fight and the fight at the ice rink. However, the majority of the issues regarding the players have been underage drinking charges. Okay, underage drinking is an issue, but THAT is an issue you have on almost every college campus in the country, regardless if you are a football player or not.
The issues at Ohio State don't even compare to underage drinking charges. 1+1 will never equal 3. He is comparing apples to oranges and trying to make a point that Ohio State got caught because they have media trying to dig up dirt on the players and Penn State doesn't get caught because it is located in a cow field with no reporters and possibly no TVs. I know it is tough to look in the mirror sometimes, but maybe media is looking into your players because they did something wrong, which as more and more proof becomes available, it appears they did.
Free cars > underage drinking. The fact that the players have been busted on the underages so many times already proves the point that they can't get away with anything in State College. Students have seen it first hand for many years; the cops are looking to make a name for themselves and bust one of JoePa's players. It's a big deal when you catch a big fish in the small pond.
So for arguments sake, let's compare apples to apples.
Back in 1997, Penn State's star running back Curtis Enis accepted illegal benefits from a sport agent ( a suit for an awards show) and lied about it. It was before Penn State's Citrus Bowl appearance. Paterno did not hesitate one bit and kicked Enis off the team. No questions asked. Justice was served.
Jim Tressel found out Terrelle Pryor, Daniel Herron and others violated NCAA rules during the spring of 2010. Instead of reporting these violations to the NCAA or OSU's gigantic compliance office, he instead reached out to Pryor's handler a few others - none of which worked for the NCAA. Tressel did this so he could keep winning, share another Big 10 title, and make Buckeye Nation happy. He later lied about his knowledge of the situation and only came forward when it was clear he didn't have a way out. The information came out just before Ohio State's BCS bowl game. Instead of taking action in that game, they let the players play and suspend them five games for the following season. Tressel, complicit in all of this, gets five games as well.
So you tell me, which University handled the situation the right way? If Tressel wasn't winning games, he would have been fired back in December. Ohio State has clearly looked past the transgressions because the wins and conference championships keep piling up. Ohio State is forgetting one important thing; you can't build a house of cards and live in it. At some point, and that point will come very soon, the house will crumble - just ask USC, SMU, and Alabama.
I'm proud of the way Penn State has handled adversity in the past. I have a sense of pride when I talk about the Nittany Lions and Joe Paterno. Success with Honor. It's more than three words, it's a way of life. A lot of fans don't care about honor, they care about national championships. They'll do whatever it takes. It's such a skewed perspective on things. Only Jeremiah can hammer it home for us.
I have said before, I don’t care about morals on my teams and I expect them to bend and break every rule they can to get more wins. I want them to cheat just a little more then the others so they have a better shot at winning NCs.
That right there my friends is the fundamental difference between Penn State and Ohio State.