I have to say it just to put it on the table. The constant news stream of reported violations in college football is reaching critical mass. At a certain point, everyone is going to stop rooting for the next piece of news to be about a school they dislike (yes! Oregon is up shit’s creek!) and realize that we’ve reached a saturation where everyone is dirty or clean depending on how you view the rules. I am starting to just get tired of hearing about it.
Here’s the thing. Every time a violation gets reported, it’s like cramming for a final to understand what on earth went wrong, who is governing the wrongdoing and morally, do I feel like anything happened. A kid sells his Big Ten ring. Learn about the vague rules governing NCAA. Pass judgement. Pass judgement on the judgement.
This is all starting to feel like steroids in baseball. At first, it was about the suspects. It was about the records. Eventually, it was just about the dirty. It got so saturated that people assumed everyone was dirty and eventually, we didn’t care anymore. We assumed anyone who hit too many home runs or got too ripped was juicing. Then the people who never looked big (you heard me Andy Pettitte) were coming out and admitting to HGH use. Now, it’s kind of like we’ve accepted people juiced and the game lost some luster and is climbing its way back into the light.
This is not where CFB is at right now. There is the strange difference between criminal activity and amateur status. It’s okay if you steal a laptop from a dorm or hit your girlfriend. You’re eligible. If you don’t know about a player taking money, you are sanctioned. If the player doesn’t know, it’s all good. If your conference supports your self-sanctioning, you’re good.
Look at Auburn. The reality for NCAA investigators is that they have to declare eligibility based on the info they have available now. Auburn suspending Cam Newton was pure manipulation of the system and it was genius. At that time, there was no proof he’d gotten money or known about anything. The NCAA HAD to rule him eligible, it kept him in the game and now, no matter what they take away later, Auburn got a title and just like roids, we remember what happened, not what was taken away. Believe me, no one considers Roger Maris the home run champ anymore. Bonds cheated, but we got used to cheating.
Now you get the Ohio State situation. The Sweater Vest lied about knowing what was going on with his players selling their trophies, rings and gear to that tattoo shop guy. Now that he admitted he knew (and never apologized), he’s been suspended two games (against like Toledo and a school for seeing eye dogs) and fined 250K (he makes 3.5 million a year). What is the NCAA going to do? How does this play into USC’s appeal?
USC got nailed for “not knowing” what they “should have known” about a player. They were told they were looking the other way when they should have been looking for infractions. So what do we make of Tressel, who saw something and THEN chose to look away? Like I tweeted yesterday, it’s a sweater vest, Tressel, not a bulletproof one.
The real point is that it is impossible to view this sport the way we used to. We can no longer choose as fans to “look the other way”. I wish we could. The reality now is that when USC got the whistle blown on it and the ridiculous hammer got dropped on them, it turned the 24 hour media into a shit storm of maelstrom-like proportions. Now, any violation is news. It’s not about the games, it’s about the sanctions.
From the beginning, I’ve urged you all to ignore the bullshit and just focus on the games. As long as we go out there and win every game and celebrate by wearing bear heads like beanies, we’ll have a good time and add glory to our university. I urge you again to ignore the THE Ohio State scandal and just focus on winning and looking good doing so.
This sport is heading for dark days. Let’s be glad the worst is over for us. Maybe not for Kiff, though. He’s still gotta answer questions about making too many phone calls while at Tennessee. Seems a lot worse than Jeremiah Massoli robbing people though, right?
That’s the world we live in. Here’s my advice NCAA. Give us a tournament. Maybe then we’ll look the other way.