Posted by Adam Jacobi
Ohio State president Gordon Gee addressed his beleagured athletic department in a statement this morning, and while his interpretation of the words he used isn't necessarily incorrect, it's certainly tone-deaf.
“We are the poster child for compliance," Gee said, "and whenever we discover a possible infraction, we resolve and report it to the NCAA, no matter how minor the violation. That’s what we have done here."
Now, the popular sentiment among writers thus far has been to remind Gee that "denial isn't just a river in Egypt," but I'd amend that slightly to "compliance isn't just a department in your office." It's one thing if Ohio State quickly and dutifully reports all the potential violations it hears about to the NCAA (though are we just going to pretend the Jim Tressel era never happened? Really? This soon?). That's what a compliance department ought to do.
If you want your athletic department to be the poster child for compliance, though, the correct way to go about that is to stop committing such an unholy amount of violations in the first place. That's what real compliance is, and on that front, Ohio State has failed miserably -- espectially relative to just about every other school in Division I. Where that systemic unusual frequency of individual failure comes from can be debated endlessly, but the point is that it's there, and as long as Ohio State keeps pretending there's no big problem the violations are going to keep happening.
My solution? An Ohio-wide media campaign called "STOP PAYING OUR PLAYERS IT DOESN'T END WELL FOR ANYBODY." Use Maurice Clarett and Terrelle Pryor in TV commercials to talk about how accepting improper benefits torpedoed their college careers right when they were getting good. But don't just go up there and tell people OSU's doing everything right. C'mon.
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