31 May 2011
Andy Staples nails it in his article on the matter:
Try for a moment to remove whatever school-colored glasses you might own and consider the following questions:
-- If Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Alex Smith had been found guilty of breaking NCAA rules, what would you think of former Utah and Florida coach Urban Meyer?
-- If Ricky Williams, Vince Young and Colt McCoy had all been penalized for running afoul of the NCAA, what would you think of Texas coach Mack Brown?
-- If college sports' governing body had forced LaRon Landry, Rolando McClain and Mark Ingram to miss games for their transgressions, what would you think of former LSU and current Alabama coach Nick Saban?
You probably didn't have to think too hard about the answer. If the three highest profile players of a big-time coach's career all got dinged by the NCAA, you would think that coach might be dirty. So why, after Maurice Clarett, Troy Smith and Terrelle Pryor all faced NCAA sanctions, did people still think Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was squeaky clean? Why, after Tressel admitted in March that he played ineligible players and lied to the NCAA about it, did people still rush to his defense, claiming him an otherwise perfect coach who made one little mistake?
Because Tressel, Ohio State and a compliant media -- yes, I'm just as guilty as the other two parties -- sold that narrative so well.
And that brings us to Western Pennsylvania's own Terrelle Pryor. The same guy, who despite all he's done to Ohio State (yes, "to" not "for" now), rolls up to last night's team meeting - covered with reporters in what appeared to be a new car. Not the '06 Dodge Charger he was driving before that, which brought up its own round of questions, but ANOTHER car. When he knew the place was going to be covered with reporters. When he knew his actions had directly led to his coach's forced resignation. I hate to sit here and judge others anonymously from a keyboard, but I think it's safe to say that Terrelle Pryor is a guy who just doesn't get it.
There were always rumors about extra benefits, sure. But how much of that smoke reflected actual fire and how much was just a combustible bout of sore-loser syndrome was never really conformable. Still, the whispers persisted. And there appears to be at least some substance now, as the NCAA has begun an investigation:
The NCAA and the Ohio State University's compliance office are conducting an independent investigation of Terrelle Pryor amid allegations that the star quarterback may have received cars and other extra benefits, sources told The Dispatch today.
Pryor and the cars he drives have been an issue since he arrived on campus three years ago. Pryor has been connected to more than a half dozen vehicles during his time at Ohio State, according to sources.
So by my count there are at least four things the Buckeyes could get nailed for: 1. The allegations that up to 28 players exchanged memorability for tattoos; 2. The coverup of that exchange by Tressel and possibly others that led to five players playing while ineligible during the 2010 season; 3. The cars allegedly received by Pryor and reportedly others; 4. That Tressel and/or others in the OSU administration knew or should have known about exchanges dating back to 2002 or the vehichles or other benefits. Hello, USC-style sanctions.
But does this mean anything significant for Pitt? Maybe. Ohio State has been the big bad wolf of Pennsylvania recruiting, stealing four "top 5" players from the state over the past four years (Terrelle Pryor, two guys both named Curtis Corey Brown, and Dorian Bell). Couple their demise with uncertainty to our east in State College and Pitt has yet another golden opportunity to establish itself in the region.
Of course, Pitt's had many, many, many opportunities to do just that and have squandered them all. It's been said before, but winning this year could go a long way towards the program's future success.
And yes, Dorian Bell is one of the players alleged to have exchanged memorabilia for tats. The same Dorian Bell it was rumored was looking to transfer to Pitt. I'm officially glad that didn't work out.