Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jim Tressel and Ohio State Get the Ducks off the Front Page

 Ohio State has suspended Jim Tressel for two games and fined him $250,000 for violating NCAA rules.  Yahoo Sports Dan Wetzel and Charles Robinson reported yesterday that Tressel knew as early as last April that five starters, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, had sold memorabilia.

The Ducks' problems haven't gone away, but at least they're off the front page.  The Ohio State has played Charlie Sheen to Oregon's Lindsay Lohan, it seems.  In the world of the blogosphere a scandal has a 72-hour shelf life, from startling allegations to sordid details to troubling ramifications, and then the furious linking and outrage moves on to something else.

College football has serious, systematic problems.  Oregon, USC, North Carolina, Tennessee, Auburn, Ohio State, and Auburn have all come under particular fire, but even if the NCAA started handing out death penalties with the stern enthusiasm of a Texas judge, there would still be an undiscovered country of problems at Alabama, Oklahoma and the rest of the top twenty.

Maybe it's time for some realistic evaluations and genuine reform.  Every week the game is stained with a fresh scandal.  The pretense and posturing isn't fooling anybody, nor is the selective outrage solving anything.  Recruiting and amateurism in NCAA college football are fundamentally broke, and no litany of stunning headlines and feigned surprise will fix it.

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