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Telander: Buckeyes join elite group of punished programs, but they’ll bounce back

Ohio State Introduces Urban Meyer

Ohio State Introduces Urban Meyer

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Updated: January 22, 2012 8:18AM



Say this for NCAA president Mark Emmert: He likes to crack the whip.

And when the NCAA has more rules than the Bible — and thus more rules violators than humans — the ol’ whip gets a bloody good workout.

Emmert’s lash came down on Ohio State on Tuesday, lacing that school’s football program with more bloody pain than the repentant folks at Woody Hayes U. apparently were expecting.

‘‘I’m so surprised and disappointed,’’ Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. ‘‘[We] didn’t think it was possible.’’

Oh, but it was. No bowl game for the 2012 season is the deepest wound. No chance for the Big Ten title, either.

The sin was the trinkets-for-cash-and-tattoos fiasco involving eight players and now-fired coach Jim Tressel, who, sadly, didn’t get any tattoos himself (Oh, to see the man with a big brown nut on his forearm!), but conveniently acted as if he didn’t know nothin’ about nothin’.

What the program got was the aforementioned bowl ban, as well as reduced football scholarships and three years’ probation.

In the odd thing known as self-policing, Ohio State already had flogged itself in the town square, announcing it would vacate all wins from the 2010 season, return bowl money, do some probation time and crawl to Ann Arbor and back three times.

OK, I made up the last item. But I couldn’t make up something as pitiably unctuous and smarmily fraudulent as the idea of self-vigilance in this era of winning-is-everything. Prostrate yourself in front of the NCAA, roll on your back like a puppy that peed on the floor but will never do it again, and maybe you get to pee again!

Not Ohio State. Not this time.

But it’s all so silly.

The whole arbitrary enforcement game, the massive rule book, the crime-punishment cycle as repetitive as the Buddhist wheel of life — it’s simply a holding down of the volcano before it explodes.

Ohio State will be back. Count on it.

New coach Urban Meyer — the two-time national-championship coach at Florida and exalter of then-Gators quarterback Tim Tebow — he’ll figure a way.

Remember that LSU, USC, Alabama, Oklahoma, Miami and Oregon all have been whipped with NCAA violations in the past, and — bingo! — here they are again.

The penalties might hurt — the Buckeyes haven’t missed a bowl game in 13 years — but Buckeye Nation never sleeps, it only plots underground.

Whiny AD Smith unwittingly said it best, ‘‘This decision punishes future students for the actions of others in the past.”

So do you think maybe the players ought to monitor their superiors? Trading ‘‘Gold Pants’’ trinkets for skin ink is so wrong, while making millions on game days is not?

It all becomes humorous rather quickly. Such is our best defense against absurdity.

Consider that Ohio State is, as I type this, preparing for the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl on Jan. 2.

Who could make that up?

Will Terrelle Pryor show up at halftime to pay interest penalties on his tats? I wonder.

The nonsense goes on. Coach Mark Richt of Georgia is guilty of NCAA infractions for paying his assistant coaches out of his own pocket. Some of them didn’t make much money.

Not so with Gus Malzahn, the former offensive coordinator at Auburn who made over $1.3 million this year and is now the head coach at Arkansas State.

Did you know they give an award for the best NCAA assistant coach and that Malzahn won it for 2010? They do. It’s called the Frank Broyles Award. Why can’t there be a Lil Weezy Award for the most heavily tattooed quarterback in the nation?

Big Chief Emmert said recently, in case you were wondering, ‘‘To be clear, civil and criminal law will always take precedence over Association rules.”

He meant that if you kill someone, you’ll have to deal with the police before the NCAA.

That’s not even funny. Not after a Florida A&M drum major died aboard a band bus after a football game from a hazing beating he received from his own bandmates.

But it is curious that the ugly brawl between Xavier and Cincinnati basketball players resulted in no arrests and no NCAA sanctions. Sucker punches are OK, as long as they don’t come with bowl rings.

The bottom line is, it’ll be different for Ohio State football for a year or so, but not a whole lot.

Actually the penalties could be a benefit for recruiting.

You want unique, young man?

Come to Columbus, one of the only places that won’t play in a stupid bowl game for the 2012 season.



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