Buckeyes Not Alone In Cheating

Bobby Curran
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Friday - June 08, 2011
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Many college football fans were surprised by the sudden resignation of former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel. The investigation into memorabilia sales by players to a shady tattoo parlor owner had expanded into car dealerships that had numerous transactions with an even larger number of players, making it impossible for OSU to keep Tressel on.

The professorial-looking coach known for his sweater vests had been caught denying knowledge of the infractions when numerous emails proved he knew of the problem; that was followed by a series of half truths and justifications, all very much at odds with Tressel’s carefully cultivated reputation for probity.

But the surprise fans felt might pale next to the shock they’d get if close investigations were conducted at many, if not most, of the nation’s elite college sports programs. It is not only discussed but often joked about that players have been receiving improper benefits for a long time. It was said that former University of Kentucky basketball star Dan Issel didn’t leave school early for the NBA because he couldn’t take the pay cut. Issel last played at UK in 1970. From meals to cars to cash to easy grades, the benefits used to entice prospective student-athletes to first come and then stay at a school are cynically considered a cost of doing business.

Ohio State is not alone - it just got caught.

You can only guess at how many college coaches are wiping their brows while secretly thinking “better him than me.”

When will it stop? It won’t as long as there is huge money to be made by fielding national championship caliber teams.

And it has been ever thus.

* With the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks hard at it, everyone rightfully talks matchups. But there is another storyline here and that’s format.

The NBA has adopted a 2-3-2 schedule for the finals only, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense. When travel was exclusively commercial, and teams were subject to the vagaries of airline schedules, you could make the argument that east-west travel should be minimized in the hope of keeping players fresh.

Now all teams travel by private charter and players can stretch out and sleep if they so desire. There are also extra days off in the play-offs, so not much damage of fatigue becoming a huge factor. Yet the 2-3-2 puts the home team (the team with the better record) at a significant disadvantage if they lose one of the first two.

They can then be closed out on the road. Doesn’t seem quite fair.

And does anyone believe that Miami to Dallas is an exhausting trip? Better to make the finals like the other series: 2-2-1-1-1. And let the better team win.

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