In what was thought to be an issue of players getting cheap and free tattoos, turned into a much more gigantic issue. The NCAA announced today that it is suspending five Ohio State players for the first five games of the 2011 season for receiving improper benefits due to the selling of awards, gifts, and university apparell totaling approximately $1,000 to $2,500. The five must also repay the amount of benefits received to charity.
Despite what Buckeyes Athletic Director Gene Smith called “severe sanctions”, the NCAA once again showed how flawed the organization has become. The five game suspension rendered does not include the upcoming Allstate Sugar Bowl and all participating parties will be allowed to play in the game. The reason, according to the NCAA, is that the “student athletes were not aware they were committing violations.” Are you kidding me? Once again the NCAA, as it showed in the Cam Newton saga, is giving a pass due to ignorance to the law. You cannot be an enforcement arm if this continues to be the standard by which student athletes are judged.
In 2007, the NCAA ruled that 12 Florida State players had to sit out the Music City Bowl against Kentucky due to an academic cheating scandal. Did the FSU players know they were cheating? I bet if you asked them they would tell you they had no idea they were committing any sort of violation. Even worse the NCAA also acknowledged that the FSU coaches in the program did not know commit any wrong doing. Yet the program stripped legendary former FSU coach Bobby Bowden of 14 wins! Yet the NCAA admitted that Bowden didn’t know!!!! Unreal! This organization has become beyond a joke and as Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated said is “clearly making up the rules as they go along.”