Friday, June 17, 2011

Don't Fall in Love

Penn State has announced a home and home series with Pitt, thanks to the Miami Hurricanes backing out of a scheduled series in 2016-2017.
Forgive me for not doing cartwheels.  I am not excited about this.

Instead of going to the ball with Cinderella, we are taking the really ugly step-sister.  WooHoo!
Seriously, Pitt football isn't even worthy of the ugly step-sister role.  Pitt is toe fungus on the deformed foot of the ugly stepsister.

Some sportswriters are musing this could be the catalyst to bring these two rivals back together for an annual game.
Maybe, just maybe, this two-year flirtation - probably after the Lions' lead swinger, Joe Paterno, is no longer on the sidelines, but even that's not a certainty - will rekindle that old flame.
On the other side of the dance floor, athletic director Tim Curley insists that Penn State won't go steady with Pitt again.
“Right now, we wouldn’t be interested in [playing Pitt] on an annual basis…

Its going to be real important for us to continue to move around the country and play some intersectional games around the country.
Barring the possibility of Pitt joining the Big Ten, I do not foresee PSU entertaining this as an annual game, when more attractive OOC matchups like Alabama could be had.

I'd be fine with replacing Temple with Pitt.  Or Indiana State.  But the panthers have no desire to sign on for single games at Beaver Stadium, or a 2 for 1 or even a  3 for 1 deal which makes more sense financially for Penn State.

Perhaps the most attractive side-story to this temporary series renewal is this:  will JoePa still be coaching?

Jopacabana (adapted from Barry Manilow's Copacabana)

Her name was Pittsburgh, she was a showgirl
With yellow pom poms in the air and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star, Big East always tended bar
Across a B-Ball floor, they worked from 8 till 4
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

At the Jopa (JO!), Jopacabana (Jopacabana)
The hottest spot north of Savannah (here)
At the Jopa (JO!), Jopacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the Jopa....they fell in love

(Jopa Jopacabana)

His name was JoePa, he coached the Lions
He was escorted to his chair, he saw Pittsburgh dancin' there
And when she finished, he called her over
But Joepa went a bit too far, Big East sailed across the bar
And then the punches flew and chairs were smashed in two
There was blood and a single gunshot
But just who shot who?


At the Jopa (JO!), Jopacabana (Jopacabana)
The hottest spot north of Savannah (here)
At the Jopa (JO!), Jopacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the Jopa....she lost her love

(Jopa. . Jopacabana)
(Jopa Jopacabana) (Jopacabana, ahh ahh ahh ahh)
(Ahh ahh ahh ahh Jopa Jopacabana)
(Talking Savannah have a banana)
(Music and passion...always the fash--shun)


Her name is Pittsburgh, she was a showgirl
But that was 30 years ago, when Pitt used to have a show
Now it's the Big Ten, but not for Pittsburgh
Still in the dress she used to wear, old Pitt stadium isn’t there
She sits there so refined, and drinks herself half-blind
She lost her youth and she lost her rival
Now she's lost her mind!

At the Jopa (JO!), Jopacabana (Jopacabana)
The hottest spot north of Savannah (here)
At the Jopa (JO!), Jopacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the Jopa....don't fall in love

(Jopa) don't fall in love
Jopacabana
Jopacabana

CSI: Columbus

Central Ohio's News Leader has uncovered new evidence of questionable practices at THE Ohio State University.
Several of Ohio State's athletic administrators workers drive courtesy cars that are provided by local car dealers, including the director of NCAA compliance, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported on Thursday.

10 Investigates asked for permission to take video of Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith's Cadillac and Ohio State director of NCAA compliance Doug Archie's Jeep. The university declined.

So 10TV News took surveillance video to show the free cars that they drive and the conflict of interest that critics say the vehicles create.

For Smith, the Cadillac is part of his deal. He earns $800,000 a year and his contract requires a free car for him and his wife. Archie, who is directly responsible for making sure players don't go wrong with car dealers, makes $117,000 a year. He does not have a contract that guarantees a free car.

Archie's car comes from the Buckeye family, Aker reported. He gets his car from Miracle Motor Mart, located at 2380 Morse Crossing. Former 1980s-era Ohio State player Mike D'Andrea, who owns the lot, said he sometimes employs student athletes during the summer.

In exchange for the cars, D'Andrea said he received a pair of season tickets to Ohio State football games.

A university spokesman said that other universities have similar programs.
10 Investigates checked and found the university explanation does not totally hold up. While most Big Ten schools allow their athletic directors to take free cars from dealers, that's not so for compliance officers.
Three other Big Ten institutions -- Iowa, Michigan State and Michigan - said that it is OK for their compliance officers to get free dealer cars. The eight other schools, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin said that they do not allow it.
Now, while it is not an NCAA violation for the compliance officer to have a courtesy car, it certainly sounds unethical (enough so that 8 of 12 Big Ten schools specifically do not allow it.)  It really reduces the compliance department's credibility.  They are supposed to be policing the students and preventing them from getting benefits . . . from the same car dealers they themselves are getting benefits (and apparently giving benefits to such as season tickets) from.

Everybody gets free cars, gives free season tickets, looks the other way.  That makes it right, right?

In another article on Cleveland.com, the University is now considering hiring private investigators to watch the student athletes, since apparently, the compliance department can't do that.
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said Thursday he is considering hiring private investigators to strengthen the monitoring of Buckeye student-athletes.

Smith said he had hired two compliance officers in the past three weeks.

"One of our biggest problems are the third parties," Smith said. "Our young people are tempted, and the reality is, 'How do we get at them?'

"The reality is there's things that the third parties are good at. That's why they do what they do. They're good at it. And the reason they continue to do what they do is because they are successful and they adapt."
The reality is that Ohio State has no institutional control, and the institution itself is on the take as well.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

He Just Doesn't Get It

My good ol' Buckeye buddy is baaack!

Dick sent a letter into my hometown paper, the Altoona Mirror:
Resentment puzzling
Reading different comments from Pennsylvania people - writers, fans, etc. - regarding Ohio State and the Terrelle Pryor situation, it's obvious once again nothing gives PA people greater delight than to gloat over another program's misfortunes.

My question is why? We're all in same conference. Is it because Ohio State beats PSU 75 percent of the time?

You never read stories of Penn State fans coming to Columbus and being abused, verbally and physically, so I just do not get it.

I have friends from Lewisburg who come to Columbus to the game and remark that they've never been treated better. I've read comments from other schools' fans who say they will never return to Beaver Stadium again because of the rude, crude fans, not to mention incidents of visiting bands being tormented.
I'm not defending Jim Tressel because I've never been a fan of his, but to kick your heels and gloat and be so happy because of someone else's troubles, I don't get it.

Rich Foust
Troy, Ohio
My question is WHY?

Why does this man care what the "Pennsylvania people" think?  He lives in Troy, Ohio and also has a home in California.  He grew up in Lewisburg, yet finds it necessary to write in to Pennsylvania sports venues like the Altoona Mirror and PennLive with his derogatory accusations . . .rude, crude fans that throw piss on other bands.  It really does start to get old.  And now it bothers him that some of us are gloating about Ohio State's troubles?  Methinks the man is obsessed, although I have been obsessed ever since his complaints got me fired by PennLive.  But I have a reason . . .


What does he possibly gain by writing these letters to newspapers in the heart of Penn State country?  What does he expect?  We're going to read his pearls of wisdom and change our ways?  I have never gone on some other teams messageboard and flamed the fanbase.  The only opposing fan I have ever dealt harshly with is Mr Buckeye himself, and he couldn't handle the truth.  He went crying to the higher-ups and demanded my head on a platter.  If you don't want to hear the answer to the question, don't ask it in the first place.

Not everyone is gloating over Ohio State's situation.  My fellow blogger Carolyn Todd wishes nothing but the best for the Scarlet and Gray.

In answering his own befuddled question, he muses that we are all in the same conference.  Has anyone read Stephen King's Under the Dome . . .'Just a small town, baby, and we all support the team.'  If you haven't read the book, the implication is lost here.

What does O$U being in the Big Ten have to do with what's happening?  Is it good for the conference that Ohio State cheats?  Would it be better for our conference if they were allowed to cheat and we all look the other way?  How is this even pertinent to the issue at hand?

And I don't think it's because of Ohio State winning 75% of the time.  Apparently, Senor Faust is reely bad at the mathematology.  According to my records, the series stands at 12-14 against the Buckeyes.  14 out of 26 is about 54% if you round up.  Nowhere close to 75%.  And how many of those wins would you have had if you hadn't cheated to get recruits???!!!  Tainted wins each and every one.

As to the fan treatment part, I am not naive enough to think nothing bad ever happens at Penn State.  But not all fans share this view.  Here is an Iowa fan concluding Beaver Stadium is a "nice place to be."  But I am sure you can find others that are not ringing endorsements of the Penn State experience. 

All the same, I'm surprised that Dick is so positive that no Penn State fans have ever had a bad experience at The Shoe.  In a review of experiences at Ohio Stadium, here are some comments:
[Texas] One item that should be mentioned at the outset -- Ohio State has the absolute worst fans in the entire country. Terms like obnoxious and sophomoric cannot provide justice as descriptions for these overly aggressive individuals.
[THEM] it wasn't the loss that made me sick, but the way osu fans treated our team and the fans. spitting on our players? booing our band? punching player's moms as they walked past? really?

i take my college football seriously. but assaulting people? inexcusable. show a little class.

[Illinois] A friend from OSU got me the ticket. I wore my Illinois gear, as any good fan should. I wasn't being annoying, but I was clearly getting extremely excited as our team marched to victory over the "mighty" buckeyes.The crowd (which, around me, consisted mostly of locals, not students) literally threatened my life on multiple occasions.

I expected to get heckled (frankly, I'd be disappointed if I wasn't), but the physical threats were unnecessary. Three people literally surrounded me and told me if I clapped one more time that they would "beat the shit out of me."

The great Ohio Stadium, home to a bunch of sore losers.
I could go on, but you get the point.  Every fanbase has their unsavory characters.  Your proximity to these people at any given game will color your perception about that stadium and fan base.

But in Dick's mind, Ohio State fans are all angels, and we Pennsylvanian's are just classeless rubes that love to see their program collapse.  The world is not only scarlet & gray, but apparently black and white.  All or none.  His way or the highway.

And that is why he will never get it.

I just wish he'd keep his trash in Ohio.

Friday, June 10, 2011

STEP UPDATE - June 8

Thanks to info sent by Justin, here's how the STEP data looks as of 6-8-2011:



SECTIONDonationSeats AvailableSeats AvailableSeats AvailableSeats AvailableDelta
3/28/20114/19/20114/21/20116/8/2011
WB$400341251251232-109
WC$400156252525-131
WD600-2000246505041-205
WE600-200014111112-2
WF600-2000249383837-212
WG$400134181618-116
WH$400313310310302-11
WJ$10043966-37
NA$10046292118-28
NB$10066373338-28
NC$10043483940-3
ND$10055593736-19
NE$10075865348-27
NF$10094653117-77
NG$10041844435-6
NH$10054893430-24
NJ$100551324435-20
NK$10045903436-9
NL$10048?4539-9
EJ$100127251814-113
EH$400552519519518-34
EG$400235545060-175
EF600-2000248606073-175
EE600-20003000-3
ED600-20001044509501389-655
EC$4001099428411283-816
EB$4007217417414876
WBU$10028000-28
WCU$40041345445347764
WDU$600691627629652-39
WEU$600353289289303-50
WFU$600617593593596-21
WGU$400343327327318-25
WHU$10061211-60
WJU$10028272325-3
NAU100-4001872504830
NBU$1002959455324
NCU100-4004413712112177
NDU100-40026105929468
NEU100-4005410910710551
NFU100-400347056406
NGU100-4002263636543
NHU100-4001576707863
NJU100-40023144126126103
NKU$1003111-2
NLU100-40020111-19
EJU$10078773331-47
EHU$10096539-87
EGU$40075010039951067317
EFU$60081984184188263
EEU$60069470970976268
EDU$6001486145414541444-42
ECU$400145815531553154183
EBU$1008532-6
SAU$1001934208869
SBU$10031132130154123
SCU$1002610511112599
SDU$1004010310310666
SEU$10032252326-6
SFU$100161814160
SGU$100112217176
SHU$1001591818772
SJU$1002679777953
SKU$1002211410411391
SLU$1002810810410173
TOTAL13975128341227712284-169111%
100164525372018210445917.13%
4005866511650844989-87740.61%
600+6464518151755191-127342.26%

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Checking Tressel for Pryors

Perhaps the most dis-Tress-ing thing to emerge from the SI article about Jim Tressel and Ohio State is the apparent long history of indiscretions, dating all the way back to his assistant days when he allegedly rigged raffles so top prospects would win.
According to his fellow assistant, Tressel rigged the raffle so that the elite prospects won -- a potential violation of NCAA rules. Says the former colleague, who asked not to be identified because he still has ties to the Ohio State community, "In the morning he would read the Bible with another coach. Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids who had probably saved up money from mowing lawns to buy those raffle tickets. That's Jim Tressel."
It is becoming more and more clear that this incident with the tattoos is not an isolated incident, but rather the straw that broke Brutus's back.  It is perhaps just the tip of the iceberg.  It's the way Ohio State has been doing business.

Ohio State has a history leading the Big Ten in self-reporting a lot of minor violations.  While some look at that information as evidence that the compliance department is busy and doing their job, we now wonder whether these admissions were merely diversions to the greater violations that were going on.  And even if they were reporting higher numbers of violations than other schools . . . why weren't they making changes to lower those numbers?  Why was the University not taking a proactive role to correct these minor violations and prevent them?  You almost get the sense that they didn't care--as long as it didn't cost them any penalties with the NCAA.  We're sinners, but as long as we confess, it's okay.

I also personally find it hard to believe that only Jim Tressel knew about these things, but I have no proof that the athletic director or University president knew anything.  I just have a feeling that Tressel's actions--or the fact that he didn't act--were sanctioned at a higher level.  Maybe not verbally and certainly not in writing.  Don't ask, don't tell.  Nod, nod, wink, wink.  I could be wrong.

I am a little surprised--just a tad, but maybe not really--by the number of Ohio State fans who have taken Tressel's side on this issue and are trying to rationalize this problem away.  Granted, these are Internet fans on messageboards, faceless nicknames who may not represent the general population of Ohio State fans well, but almost to a fault, they all seem to side with Tressel.

In other words, there are very few voices saying that the Buckeyes made mistakes and we need to clean this up.  Instead you hear about how other schools do the same thing.  It isn't fair that we are being scrutinized for this.  Tressel was just trying to protect his players (his own excuse for that matter.)

In contrast, Penn State does things differently.  When Enis took a suit from an agent, he was suspended from playing in the bowl game.  Players do get in trouble at Penn State (not always NCAA violations but often with the law) and generally, Paterno handles these matters well.  But there are always a number of fans on the messageboards who feel that the punishment wasn't severe enough and criticize Joe for not being more strict.  Sometimes he's been criticized for being too strict, but most times PSU fans lean toward making sure the program stays clean.

It's a different philosophy at O$U.

Pryor once said:
"Not everybody's the perfect person in the world. I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever. I think that people need a second chance, and I've always looked up to Mike Vick, and I always will."
To paraphrase this for Buckeye fans now . . .

Not every program's perfect in this world.  I mean, everyone gives cars, gets tattoos, gets special treatment, whatever.  I think coach needs a second chance, and we've always looked up to Jim Tressel and we always will.
But even these issues skirt the much broader issue.

When is cheating in any sport, at any level, acceptable?

I don't think it matters how any Ohio State fan or sports fan in general spins it.  Ohio State cheated.  There are rules set up by the NCAA.  They violated the rules.  The coach lied about the violations.  If you break the rules of the game . . . that is cheating, and it doesn't matter how many other programs are doing it. 

If you are speeding down the highway at 75 mph and the limit is 65, you are speeding.  It doesn't matter whether there is a cop around or if a whole line of cars is doing the same. 

Two wrongs don't make a right.  Three lefts do, though.

This is the same rationalization that little Jimmy uses when he wants to stay up late at night.  Just because John's and Dudley's parents allow them to stay up late doesn't mean that it is okay for Jimmy.  If those other parents all left their kids jump off a bridge, would you do it too?

But this is not as trivial as it would seem.  If players/families choosing Ohio State were made aware of these perks by other players, and it influenced their decision to go to that school, then the University, willing or not, had a competitive edge over other schools.

This is not an issue of fairness.  Recruiting is not fair.  Penn State has distinct advantages over a school like Akron, Ohio, or name any other school that only goes to a bowl game once in a decade or three; maybe never.  Penn State has fantatastic facilities, good academics, and one of the largest stadiums and fan bases in the country.  They obviously have an advantage over schools who do not have these things.

The difference here is that there is no NCAA rule limiting the size of the stadium, the extent of practice facilities and equipment, or how many fans a school has.

But the NCAA does have rules prohibiting players from gaining financial compensation or special treatment for their status as student athletes.

If you break the rule, you are cheating.  This is not some Clintonian definition of sexual relations.  If you don't play by the rules, you are cheating.

If the NCAA can prove that these allegations are true, then Ohio State cheated.  Plain and simple.  It doesn't matter if Alabama, Auburn, USC or any other school does the same thing.  It's still cheating.  Just like speeding on the highway, if you get caught, there is a price to pay, even if the other guy isn't pulled over.

It's interesting that the only schools that Ohio State has consistently had problems beating in the Tressel era are the ones from the SEC.  At the risk of angering those fan bases, I think it is fair to surmise that many fans North and West of the SEC perceive them to engage in questionable recruiting acitvities.  I won't go in to over-signing since that doesn't violate an NCAA rule.  Unfortunately for the NCAA, they could not prove that Cam Newton knew his dad was involved in a transaction for cash to play.  Technically, Cam didn't break the rules.

And in the only win over an SEC team in his tenure, Tressel cheated by playing players that should have been ineligible since the beginning of the season. I'm still not sure why the NCAA allowed them to play in the bowl game in the first place.

Vacating wins is pretty meaningless.   I don't think that will mean anything to Arkansas.

If the NCAA wants to remain a credible organization, then they need to penalize The Ohio State University in meaningful ways.  Reduce scholarships.  No bowl games.  No Big Ten Title games.  At least two years.

I have seen some fans calling for a death penalty ala SMU.  What does that achieve?  Other than acting as a deterrent to other schools, it serves little purpose.  What good is an empty Ohio Stadium?  Why should fans be penalized by not seeing their team play against the Buckeyes?  They should still play, but the playing field must be tilted against O$U with sanctions to make up for the unfair advantage that may have been present since before the Tressel years, and certainly present in the last decade.

Anything less than significant sanctions/probation will be an injustice.  If the NCAA really wants to enforce these rules, then they need to take a bite out of Ohio State.  Just barking isn't good enough and will send the message to everyone else:  it's okay to cheat.  True fans of the sport, though, I think will disagree.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ohio State Compliance Office Exposed

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Sweater Vest

Courtesy of LaMarr Woodley by way of Sportress of Blogitude . . .


Hey Buckeyes!  Free $tuff over at the Columbus Wal-Mart!  They'll roll back the prices just for you!