I have been covering Ohio State football for longer than I care to remember. There have been times when the Buckeyes have had off-the-field problems and times when they have struggled with their product on the field, but I cannot remember a time when they have had both.
Since December when it came to light five players had traded memorabilia for tattoos and/or cash, the OSU football program and its fans have been sitting under the sword of Damocles. In case you have forgotten your Greek mythology, a sword hangs precariously above a king’s throne, held in place by a single hair from a horse’s tail. It is meant to convey how precarious fame and fortune can be.
In the myth, just the threat of the sword hanging overhead was enough of a deterrent. Where Buckeye Nation is concerned, however, the sword has fallen repeatedly. It seems that every three weeks or so, another log gets thrown onto a smoldering fire that has already claimed several victims including Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor with Gene Smith, Luke Fickell and the program itself apparently in the line of the fire.
My first reaction when the latest revelations came to light regarding Boom Herron, DeVier Posey and Marcus Hall and questionable summer employment? Stand back and let the fire burn.
What is it going to take to get it through some thick skulls that the immediate future of Ohio State football is in the NCAA crosshairs? One would think the players know better, especially after Tattoogate and all that entailed. One would think the OSU compliance office would know better, taking whatever steps necessary to repeatedly drum into these guys’ heads that taking money under any circumstances is the wrong thing to do. And one would think Smith would know better than to publicly state, “We do not have a systemic problem.”
Really? Exactly what would you call it? It’s certainly not gangland 1930s Chicago, the foolish and mean-spirited comparison offered by CBSSports.com writer Dennis Dodd on Tuesday. But it certainly smacks of a problem systemic enough that athletic department officials come off looking reactive rather than proactive. Turning a deaf ear is one thing; incompetence is quite another.
Read the rest by clicking on this link: Rea's Day Blog: Oct. 7.