College football

Ohio State establishes new NCAA guidelines

  To avoid any future “tattoo-gate” which endangered OSU’s standing with the NCAA, Ohio State revealed its new compliance plan today. The new plan addresses every issue that created problems for it in the past, according to Bleacher (

If you have been living under a rock the last several years or wish to refresh your memory of how OSU got into trouble please see the links below. I wrote extensively about the troubles at the time and in What now for Ohio State? (June 2, 2011; I outlined several steps I felt should be taken to remedy the situation. I am glad to see that most of the steps have been taken and hopefully Ohio State can become the example of how to come back after NCAA sanctions.

Ohio State got into trouble for the players selling their memorabilia and autographed jerseys and equipment. To address this problem, the players will be required to sign a statement saying they have not sold any of their bowl gifts or rings and the school may conduct random audits. Also, the items will be kept in storage and will be given to the players only after graduation.

New rules for charity events

The second round of violations occurred when several football players attended a fundraiser banquet in the Cleveland area where people paid $5,000 to be able to dine with the athletes. Now the new rules for charity requests include:

• Athletes can’t go to an event as a celebrity figure. They have to actively do something.

• Athletes can’t go to an event more than 30 miles from campus.

• For men’s basketball and football players, an OSU staff member has to go along to keep tabs on things.

• Charities have to get prior approval.

In addition, the new rules include areas addressing the social media, buying cars, giving out tickets, and educating players and boosters. Also, a compliance person in the football building itself has been added.

My score card on the OSU situation

On June 2, 2011 I suggested six steps I felt OSU should take to make itself a leader in rules reform. Below are the six steps and an evaluation of whether or not they have been taken:

  1. Resignation of Coach Tressel—this occurred in the very beginning of the investigation. He “resigned” under pressure.
  2. Lengthy investigation into the school, the athletic department, and the players involved—this was done by the school and the NCAA.
  3. The coach, school administrators, and players should acknowledge their part…and publicly apologize—the players and coach admitted their wrong-doing and apologized but I’m not sure the administration has. Some people are upset that AD Gene Smith is still on staff.
  4. Take all punishments and sanctions without whining—I am happy to say that the players and most of the fans have graciously accepted their punishment.
  5. Clean house…to rid the campus of guilty and unsavory characters. Start with a clean slate—Terrell Pryor and his entourage left campus under pressure. Also, with the new coach most of the old coaching staff is gone. The slate appears pretty clean.
  6. Institute and oversee stricter rules for all players in all sports. It is not a right but a privilege to wear the Ohio State uniform—looking at the new rules above it seems this has been done.

Congratulations to Ohio State and its fans for taking its punishment without complaining and taking positive steps to avoid such problems in the future.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, JIM TRESSEL? Published on March 11, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events

Adios Jim Tressel Published on May 31, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events

Good Bye and Good Riddance, TP Published on June 11, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events

Football Offers Many Lessons Published on August 17, 2011 by Sheila Dobbie in Current Events

What now for Ohio State?

A text logo for Ohio State University
Image via Wikipedia

Where does one go after a public fiasco? It is becoming clear that our beloved Buckeyes, their coach, and the school aren’t as squeaky clean as we thought. So what happens now?

The first step has already been taken with the resignation of Coach Tressel. The next
step is a lengthy investigation into the school, the athletic department, and
the players involved. If the allegations in the current issue of Sports
Illustrated are true, then the school is in a hell of a lot of hot water. It appears
the problem is much more extensive than we thought with the practice of selling
sports mementoes for cash, tattoos, and other favors going back eight years and
including over twenty students.

The school’s image is as battered and bruised as the football team after a Michigan game. As a fan I am not looking forward to hearing the scandal rehashed each Saturday
for the next several years. So what can be done to repair the image and gain
respect once again?

Once the investigations are finished the coach, school administrators, and players
should acknowledge their part in it and publicly apologize. No making excuses;
just man up and admit what you knew and when you knew it. Telling and accepting
the consequences will go a long way to regain respect.

Next, take all punishments and sanctions without whining. The punishment will hurt all involved, including the fans, but it is necessary. Next, clean house if needed to rid the
campus of guilty and unsavory characters. Start with a clean slate.

Institute and oversee stricter rules for all players in all sports. It is not a right but a
privilege to wear the Ohio State uniform; make it an honor to belong to the
team. This honor should be enough reward in itself. There should be no
pandering to special, elite athletes and their hangers-on. I know this
suggestion will be unpopular and many will argue it is unrealistic in today’s
world; but a team should be one cohesive unit, not a group of catered-to prima

If the elite athletes don’t like these rules they can go somewhere else—and probably will. However, this puts Ohio State in a unique position to lobby the NCAA for reform and
insist on uniformity and fairness in all schools. Ohio State is not the only
school to find itself in such a mess, so we must look at the culture of college
football overall. It is time for the NCAA to get real and address the problems
of over-enthusiastic boosters going outside the rules to enrich the athletes’
pockets and their own image at the same time.

Everything boils down to money. Win at all costs because it brings in money and recognition to the school; athletes looking to turn pro in a few years because of big money;
impoverished young student athletes with no money. College sports is a multi-billion
dollar industry and the athlete is the only one not reaping a financial reward.
True, in the future, either armed with a degree or an outstanding sports
pedigree, these athletes stand to be financially successful; but what about
right now? Remember your college days peppered with work, studies, and fun? It all
took money but most students were able to hold a job while attending college. Because
of the intense pressure to be the best, particularly at high-profile schools,
most free time is spent in the weight and conditioning room when the athletes
aren’t actually preparing for a game. There is little or no time for a job. This
need has created the phantom job many boosters are guilty of when paying the
athletes for just showing up or signing autographs.

The world has changed and so has college sports. The NCAA must revamp its rules and bring sports into the 21st century and Ohio State is in a unique position
to lead the way for reform—once it has had time to lick its wounds.