Things move slowly at Ohio State.
The Olentangy River, the offense, the administration, justice.
On those last two items the football scandal at the school seems to be moving toward some sort of closure. Slowly. On the eve of Saturday’s game at Purdue, the school announced Friday it had received an amended notice of allegations stemming from the dealings of infamous booster Bobby DeGeronimo. Ohio State is now looking squarely at a “failure to monitor” charge from the NCAA.
That revelation was slow enough for the NCAA arrive at. It needed DeGeronimo’s largesse – he reportedly doled out cash and overpaid players for jobs – to determine that the program really had serious issues. Never mind a Big Ten title was won with the aid of ineligible players.
It seems also that Ohio State president Gordon Gee finally got it after dragging his feet in cement all these months. On Friday he boldly stated that it was “unacceptable” that AD Gene Smith didn’t keep tabs on DeGeronimo. Really? It is almost 11 months to the date that Tattoogate broke. Since then Gee has hoped Jim Tressel wouldn’t fire him, defended the compliance department and been in charge during arguably the largest NCAA scandal in the school’s history.
It took Gee this long to realize that Smith’s actions were unacceptable. Really? We, and others, were writing that months ago. The school’s reaction to the scandal has resembled the slow drip of molasses out of a Vermont sugar maple tree.
It took Ohio State a couple of false starts before it finally got rid of Tressel – although with a $50,000 going-away gift and full benefits for life. It took until August to offer some give-back to the NCAA – its $338,000 take from January’s Sugar Bowl. Along the way it vacated the 2010 season, one lowlighted by the still incomprehensible Buckeye Five’s eligibility to play in the Sugar.
(By the way, those “vacations” are like mosquito bites you get on vacation. You may feel them at first, but if you ignore them they quickly go away.)
Also Friday, the school docked itself five scholarships over three years. That’s another laughable self-imposed penalty. Subtracting an average of 1.66 scholarships over the next three seasons is like, well, a mosquito bite.
Now, Gee finds his AD’s actions unacceptable. Wow, swift action there. It’s clear that Gee now has thrown Smith under the bus. The once-distinguished AD’s days have to be number in Columbus. The football program is in line, officially, for major sanctions. Anything less than a postseason bowl ban(s) Ohio State can handle but that’s another discussion.
Who now stands in judgment of Gee? It has to be the Ohio State trustees who have to realize blame for this mishandled investigation of relatively minor NCAA crimes that turned into a cover-up has to end up at the president’s office.
Gee has done so much good for such a long time for so many schools, his accomplishments cannot be ignored. Similar words were uttered and spoken this week for another collegiate old-timer. While no one is comparing the Ohio State situation to that at Penn State, the time has come for Gee to suffer the same fate as Joe Paterno.
He must go.
TCU is 3-1 in its last four games against top five teams … Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart is finding inspiration from his former boss in playing LSU. Taggart was on the Stanford staff when the Cardinal beat USC 24-23 in 2007. After the game Jim Harbaugh famously commented, “We bow down to no man.” A sign reading the same can be found in the Toppers’ lockerroom this week. Taggart was a Western Kentucky quarterback in the mid-1990s. Harbaugh was an unpaid assistant on the staff … While New Mexico continues to look for a new coach, it sports two of the nation’s longest losing streaks: overall, 12 games and road games, 20 … In 1986 TCU’s Gary Patterson was the linebackers coach at Cal-Davis that featured Boise’s Chris Petersen at quarterback … Texas (heading to Missouri) has rushed for 400 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since 1977 … Of the last three Cincinnati coaches, Butch Jones currently is having the best season (7-1). The past two Bearcats coaches are Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly … Boston College’s Luke Kuechly continues to amaze. He has had at least 10 tackles in 31 consecutive games.