USC Appeal denied; What does this mean for Ohio State?

It just came down the pipeline recently that USC has had their appeal denied by the NCAA infractions committee, which has now set the precedent of not letting a school who has multiple violations off the hook. USC is on the hook for players taking payments from an agent in both Football and Basketball. While it has been a number of years since the violations actually occurred, it seemed like a easy opinion to think USC would get their punishment lessened. Mostly because nobody on the team, or even coaching staff was around when the violations occurred. But the NCAA saw otherwise and has chosen to uphold the punishment.

Now this brings up the question of what will happen to Ohio State? They have been in a bear trap of ever evolving issues since December. They were first put into the spotlight when it came out that five players were receiving discounted tattoos at a local tattoo parlor for selling items given to them by the athletic department. But the NCAA was going to be lenient and let them serve a five game suspension at the start of next season, while playing in the bowl game. Which seemed laughable at the time it was announced. Then the news broke that head football coach Jim Tressel knew about what was going on, because he had received emails from a former player and current booster about it. This just made the story that much worse when it broke in the media, but the school let Tressel say that he was going to sit the first two games, which later turned into five. And that was supposed to be the only punishment handed down.

But as usual, things went from bad to worse when another story broke about a possible deal for discounted(free?) cars from a Columbus car dealership. As the months have clicked off, Ohio State seems to be making the case for the NCAA an open and shut case. Ohio State will not know their fate until they have a meeting in August, and punishment probably won’t be handed down until October at the earliest. But the way things are going, more news will be uncovered and the school will just get dirtier and dirtier in the eyes of the NCAA. So, if the NCAA has been strict with USC and has started showing it’s teeth more and more when it comes to punishments, what lies in store for Ohio State?

The NCAA will most likely throw a lack of institutional control at Ohio State and punish them in line with that kind of ruling. But the NCAA needs to seriously look at blowing the dust off the death penalty. They used it once before on SMU back in 1987, and with each passing month, Ohio State is pushing into that realm. Will the NCAA dare push the death penalty on a cash cow like Ohio State? I don’t think for one minute they would dare. But they could really set a strong precedent and strike fear into dirty programs if they wielded that big stick again. We won’t know what will happen with the Ohio State saga until later this year, but for the average fan, who wants to see bad deeds get punished, then the NCAA needs to really lay a hay maker on Ohio State and make it known, dirty programs will feel a lot of pain if they get caught.

Year of the NCAA; Crackdowns and investigations make headlines

Since the start of 2010, there has been one constant theme in college sports and it continues into the first part of 2011. NCAA crackdowns and investigations have almost become a daily occurrence and breaking news on every news wire across the country. This seems like a cyclical thing that happens every 5-10 years, the NCAA decides to get tough and clean up everything that may have been overlooked for the last few years to the previous decade.

 The one thing that really got the ball rolling here was the final decision on the USC and Reggie Bush investigation that took years to complete. Then before the start of this past college football season, we had what was coined as “agent gate” where the NCAA was investigating North Carolina’s football team and it ended with some suspensions and some players being kicked off the team. But that seemed to be the sign of the times where every other story written was some school was self-reporting this, or this team had to meet with the NCAA about that. It just became a never ending line of violations and compliance issues that dominated the papers everyday but on Saturday. 

The one story that really got everyone going was the breaking news halfway through the season about Cam Newton supposedly being shopped to Mississippi State for $180,000. This was a soap opera story at its finest. Every opponent took their shots and continues to do so, but the real questionable thing that happened here is the fact that Cam got suspended prior to the SEC championship game, then was re-instated 24 hours later. Then all he did was go on to win the Heisman and a National Championship. Since the end of the season, this story has since gone away and will probably be resolved with nothing being done. Because for once there is no real trail of wrong doing, it has all been here say.

College sports fans would have thought that moving on to basketball season would help break away from the problems, but as it has been, the NCAA was investigating Tennessee for recruiting violations with their head basketball coach. But the SEC decided to go ahead and suspend him at the start of conference play, but then the NCAA delivered their letter. Now everyone around the program is wondering what the program will face and if firing Bruce Pearl would help lessen that blow. But this matter won’t be resolved until June.

The one that surprised everyone was the fact that Jim Calhoun of UCONN got busted with a recruiting violation and is going to have to sit out 3 games next season in the Big East conference play. So, it is looking like anyone and everyone is in danger and everything is being magnified 100 times. The question that lingers for everyone is this going to be a long term deal, or will the NCAA do what they did in the past and start lightening up on everyone after they prove a point.

Cheating happens on every level of college athletics, and there is no real way to stop it, unless the NCAA will hit every team they catch with heavy sanctions, regardless of how big or how profitable the program makes the sport. Until the NCAA can find a way to scare everyone straight, it is just going to be an endless game of who gets caught and who gets away with it. The bottom line is, if you are stupid and don’t cover your tracks correctly, then you will face the wrath of the NCAA. But most fans are getting tired of hearing about another school facing sanctions and having problems, just because something slipped out that wasn’t supposed to. I am all for a clean and fair sport, but that will never happen as long as there are schools that make huge amounts of money and there are other schools who can’t make a dime.

What I learned – Championship Week

Yesterday was the last full Saturday of the College football season and boy was it exciting. While it is sad that this will be final full weekend for now. It went out with a bang. So here is what we know after this last weekend of the season.

SMU vs UCF
While this game wasn’t on a lot of peoples radar, this was still an interesting game to watch. SMU kept having chances to get back into this game and make it interesting down the wire. But UCF was able to make the plays and put themselves in position to win this game. While it was a bummer to see them lose this game, SMU has come a long way in two seasons under June Jones. SMU will be back to compete for the Conference USA again. Meanwhile UCF may have made the best case for them to get an invite into the Big East conference.

Oregon vs Oregon St.
While it looked from the start that this game was going to be a tight one and possibly an upset minded Oregon State was more ready to play. It only took a matter of time before Oregon got their offense going and pushed their will on their rival. Oregon was playing for their chance to go to Glendale and play for the National Championship. They punched their ticket with ease and will now have over a month to prepare. And they will need every practice to get ready for their next opponent.

Auburn vs S. Carolina
This was supposed to be the game of the day. Everyone was figuring this would be a tight game with an Auburn victory, well, you got half of it right. Auburn took advantage of every opportunity and ended up make this a run away. Cam Newton all but locked up his bid for the Heisman trophy in this game. Now Auburn has punched their ticket to Glendale to face Oregon. Auburn has been one of the better teams all season and they can now prove it.

Virginia Tech vs Florida St.
This game started like it was going to be a track meet, but unfortunately for Florida State couldn’t keep up. Virginia Tech has really turned their season around after their 0-2 start. They finished on a 9 game winning streak and will get to play in a BCS bowl. Should be a good building tool for next season.

Nebraska vs Oklahoma
This is the final championship game  for the Big XII. It turned out to be the most exciting game of the night. Nebraska was trying real hard to win the final championship and skirt their way to the Big Ten conference. Instead, they get beat again in Dallas. They will now pack their bags for their new conference and hope to have more success there. Meanwhile Oklahoma finished a good turnaround after their dismal season last year. They will play in the Fiesta Bowl against an at large team which is to be announced.

Honorable Mentions
It was an interesting day to say the least, we had a story of a Cincinnati mascot getting ejected from their game yesterday for throwing snowballs into the stands. This has been a bad year for mascots all around. The Big East conference got their champion in a doozy of a game with UConn winning the game with a 50 yard field goal. Another interesting story came out of Los Angeles, where fans from USC and UCLA got into a brawl where two men were stabbed and a cop had a broken hand. In the end, that put this game on the map and made it some what news relevant. Otherwise nobody outside of Los Angeles wouldn’t have cared about this game.